Textiles in Vietnam

Both cotton and silk weaving are known to have been practised in northern Việt Nam from at least the first century BCE. However, whilst the raising of silkworms became widespread from an early date, the climate in the Red River Delta was not condusive to large-scale cotton farming, leading to a dependence on imported raw materials.

By the time of the later Lê dynasty (1428-1527) the villages of Vạn Phúc, La Khê, Ngãi Cầu and Bùng (Hà Tây Province), Trích Sài and Bái Ân (Hà Nội) and Vân Phương (Hưng Yên Province) had become firmly established as the main centres of high-quality silk production in the north. At this time many silk products were reserved for kings, queens, royal relatives and mandarins. They were presented in tribute to the Chinese imperial court until as late as the Lê era and also traded extensively on the international market. Many of the afore-mentioned villages still produce hand-woven silk of high quality which is in great demand throughout the country. Different types of woven silk include văn (brocaded with large flowers), vóc (satin), xuyến (light plain silk), the (extra-light plain silk), and nhiễu (heavy crepe).

Khmer loom (Tim Doling)Between the 15th and 18th centuries sericulture also developed in the central region (modern Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi and Bình Định Provinces) to meet the growing demand from foreign merchants calling at the busy ports of Đà Nẵng and Faifo (Hội An).

From an early date too, silk production was practised widely amongst the ethnic Khmer communities of the Mekong Delta, and during the French colonial period fabric from this region - handwoven in many elaborate designs using locally produced fibres - was in great demand amongst international connoisseurs. Today the ethnic Khmer villages of Lương Hóa, Nguyệt Hóa, Cầu Ngang and Trà Cú in Trà Vinh Province and Dự Tâm in An Giang Province are still famous for their fine, long-lasting silk. The exquisite black silk fabric produced by the nearby Việt village of Tân Châu displays characteristics indicative of its close contact with the Khmer silk-weaving industry.

SilkIndigenous cotton cultivation began in the Tây Nguyên (Central Highland) region during the 18th century and increased with the opening of the first cotton mills during the late 19th century, but since that time the industry has continued to be dependent on imported cotton due to the relatively poor quality of the local crop. At the time of going to press the government has launched an ambitious cotton planting programme in southern Việt Nam, aimed at developing indigenous cotton production.

Source: http://www.culturalprofiles.org.uk/viet_Nam/Directories/Vi_ACYAIw-7879_ADs-t_Nam_Cultural_Profile/-3672.html