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Black Thai, Vietnam

(known in Vietnam as Thai, Thai Dam, (Tai Dam) Tai Tay and also found in Laos, Thailand and Southern China with small groups in Cambodia and India)

It is thought that the ancestors of the Thai arrived very early in Vietnamese history, especially the small groups which are the ancestors of those now settled in the north-western region.  At the beginning of the second century AD it is thought that initially the White Thai and then the Black Thai (Thai Dam) arrived to settle in their present area of habitation where they constitute the largest ethnic majority of the current population.  These photographs were taken in the north west of Vietnam in Son La and Lai Chau provinces especially in and around the town of Dien Bien Phu. 

See also Black Thai (style) mosquito nets and Southern Whtie Thai weaving village, Vietnam photogallery.

all text & images Pamela A Cross

Click on thumbnail for full size images.  Click on large image to return here

to Jpeg 27K View from the road from near to Son La heading towards to Dien Bien Phu in Son La Province 9510C12.JPG

to Jpeg 35K Down in the valley on the road from near to Son La heading towards to Dien Bien Phu in Son La Province 9510C16.JPG

to Jpeg 20K The mountains and fertile valley where Dien Bien Phu is situated in Lai Chau Province 9510C33.JPG

to Jpeg 39K Black Thai woman by her produce at the bottom of the road from the museum in Son La, Son La Province 9510C10.JPG

to Jpeg 23K Black Thai woman in her home in a village near Dien Bien Phu.  she wove and died the material for her head cloth from locally grown indigo.  She is the wife of the local Party Secretary. 9510D08.JPG

to Jpeg 37K Black Thai woman by her produce at the bottom of the road from the museum in Son La, Son La Province 9510C11.JPG

to Jpeg 47K Young Black Thai women with their baskets in the market at Ban Vay on the road from Son La to Dien Bien Phu in Son La Province 9510C25.JPG

to Jpeg 33K Black Thai women examining goods for sale in Ban Vay market on the road from Son La to Dien Bien Phu in Son La Province showing off their embroidered head cloths 9510C21.JPG

to Jpeg 41K Black Thai women and children in the centre of Ban Vay on the road from Son La to Dien Bien Phu in Son La Province 9510C24.JPG

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to Jpeg 25K Black Thai beating the drum for dancing - Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province 9510E34.JPG

to Jpeg 27K Black Thai beating the drum and playing cymbals for dancing - Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province 9510E36.JPG

to Jpeg 25K Black Thai women dancing, Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province 9510F02.JPG

to Jpeg 30K Black Thai women demonstrating weaving on a length of weaving for bags and bedding/cushion ends in a village near Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province 9510D18.JPG

to Jpeg 35K Black Thai woman, watched by her children, demonstrating weaving on a length of weaving for bags and bedding/cushion ends in a village near Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province 9510D19.JPG

to Jpeg 34K Weaving a length for using for bags, cushion and mattress ends, Black Thai village, Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province 9510D20.JPG

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to Jpeg 47K A roll of weaving for cutting into bag lengths and cushion and mattress ends, Black Thai village, Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Provine.  Note the cushion edge using similar weaving just showing which has been covered by a protective raffia mat. 9510D02.JPG

to Jpeg 25K Black Thai woman with a bag she has woven - Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province 9510D03.JPG

to Jpeg 34K A woven bag and some cotton and silks for the supplementary weft as shown in the weaving.  They had been dyed by the Black Thai weaver from dyes (probably chemical) bought locally.  Note the edges of the seat cushion made from a similar length of weaving.  Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province 9510D01.JPG

to Jpeg 25K Cotton bolls stored in bags in the roof of a Black Thai house on the way to Dien Bien Phu from Son La, Lai Chau Province 9510E09.JPG

to Jpeg 38K Black Thai woman putting cotton bolls through a local equivalent of a cotton gin to remove the seeds at a house by the roadside on the way to Dien Bien Phu from Son La, Lai Chau Province 9510C35.JPG

to Jpeg 46K Long lengths of cotton thread ready for weaving or dying outside Black Thai houses near Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chao Province 9510E05.JPG

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to Jpeg 36K Black Thai lady winding dyed thread - probably silk - onto a bobbin before weaving.  Village near Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chao Province 9510E14.JPG

to Jpeg 44K The indigo dye bowl on the fire outside a Black Thai house near Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chao Province 9510F21.JPG

to Jpeg 40K Cloth - probably cotton - hanging out to dry and oxidise after being dyed in indigo.  Black Thai village near Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chao Province 9510F22.JPG

to Jpeg 41K Cotton fabric hanging out to dry and oxidise after being dyed in indigo.  Judging by the colour it still requires several more dips in the dye vat.  Black Thai village, Dien Bien Ph, Lai Chao Province. 9510E24.JPG

to Jpeg 28K Black Thai young woman outside her house holding an indigo dyed head cloth which she is embroidering, village near Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chao Province 9510F20.JPG

to Jpeg 34K The front and back bodice piece of (probably an older) woman's blouse.  This is being made from indigo dyed cotton which is likely to have been dyed at home - as indicated by such cloth hanging up to dry outside the house.  Black Thai village, Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chao Province. 9510E23.JPG

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to Jpeg 29K Black Thai woman showing a head cloth which she embroidered several years before - the style has less ornate edging than ones being made and worn today.  Note that, inside the house, she is not wearing a head cloth but showing her hair knot secured by a silver coloured coin fastening.  This is the lady who was demonstrating weaving in the loom above for which we went to a neighbour's house as this Black Thai lady did not have a loom currently set up in her house.  The lady of the house - shown in the photo to the right of this one with a more modern head cloth - was out collecting wood for her cooking fire when we first arrived at her home and watched the weaving.  Both head cloths are now in my collection purchased by way of thanks and in memory of these ladies' kind and generous hospitality. Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province. 9510D27.JPG

to Jpeg 30K Black Thai woman with an embroidered head cloth.  See notes to photo to the left of this one in the Photo gallery.  Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province. 9510D22.JPG

to Jpeg 33K Black Thai lady showing how her head cloth is worn.  Note the curtains behind shielding off the sleeping areas from view and with hand woven cloth pieced into the heading area of the curtains.  Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province 9510D23.JPG

to Jpeg 40K Curtains separating sleeping from living areas in a Black Thai house.  Note the woven fabric in the heading to the left and patchwork in the heading to the right.  The hanging tabs echo those on some of the baby carriers.  Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province. 9510D15.JPG

to Jpeg 31K Curtains separating off the sleeping areas from each other and from the living area in a Black Thai House.  Note the hand woven material in several curtain headings as well as patchwork.  Dien Bien Phu.  Lai Chau Province. 9510C36.JPG

to Jpeg 38K Black Thai baby carrier hanging on a line outside a house in a village near Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province. 9510E02.JPG

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to Jpeg 26K Black Thai baby being carried on it's grandmother's back in a baby carrier made with an insertion of supplementary woven cloth and layers of edging made from individually folded 'points'.  A village near Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province. 9510E21.JPG

to Jpeg 34K Black Thai baby in a baby carrier made with an insertion of supplementary woven cloth and layers of edging made from individually folded 'points'.  A village near Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province. 9510E22.JPG

to Jpeg 27K Black Thai baby being carried by its grandmother's back.  The baby carrier is made with an insertion of hand woven supplementary weft fabric (probably cotton ground and silk supplementary wefts) and adorned with strips of inserted folded 'points' and hanging tabs of different bought fabric scraps which have been carefully sewn together and turned.  Tuan Giao on the road from Son La to Dien Bien Phu in Son La Province.  9510C32.JPG

to Jpeg 32K Black Thai family coming out to say good bye - the baby is shown in the baby carrier in the Photo gallery to the left above this thumbnail and the woman's blouse shown further above was in the process of being sewn when we came along.  Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province. 9510E28.JPG

to Jpeg 51K Black Thai building - probably for storing rice rather than a house as there is little sign of the traditional balcony around it.  At the side of the road from Son La to Dien Bien Phu, Son La Province. 9510C13.JPG

to Jpeg 26K Black Thai houses around a pond on the outskirts of Son La, Son La Province. 9510B10.JPG

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to Jpeg 41K Black Thai young woman cycling out of her village wearing a straw hat over her head dress to give added protection from the sun.  Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province. 9510D36.JPG

to Jpeg 40K Black Thai woman returning from fishing - she had maggots in her basket.  Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province. 9510E29.JPG

to Jpeg 30K Black Thai young girl, Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province.  Note that the front of her blouse is fastened with buttons rather than the silver clasps of her elders.   9510F25.JPG

to Jpeg 27K Looking across to the beautifully situated Black Thai village at the head of the valley where Dien Bien Phu is situated.  Several photos in the Photo gallery were taken in this village. 9510D34.JPG

to Jpeg 42K Black Thai house with six mattresses hanging out air.  Note the coverings in indigo cloth and edges with hand woven supplementary weft cloth on the road north leaving Son La, Son La Province. 9510C27.JPG

to Jpeg 35K Black Thai outside their house - Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau Province 9510F23.JPG

 

See also Black Thai (style) mosquito nets and Southern White Thai weaving village, Vietnam photogallery

 

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this page last updated 2 January, 2004