October 16, 2018
Hoi An Silk Village
Anyone who has heard of Hoi An will know about its amazing and charming character, but not everyone will know about its Silk Village, which is a tourist attraction just as interesting as the old town. Visitors to the Silk Village get the chance to see a massive gallery of silk products, especially Cham brocade, and they can learn about the fabric-weaving methods of local artisans.
Hoi An Silk Village is located at 28 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, about 1 kilometre from Hoi An’s centre. It was formed to restore the culture of weaving and trading in the fabric of the Champa and Dai Viet civilisations of the past, especially as Hoi An used to be a port from which silk was shipped to countries around the world. Year after year, the Silk Village has become an appealing attraction luring both domestic and foreign tourists who are visiting Hoi An.
Those who are curious enough can visit the 300-year-old Champa and Vietnamese traditional mulberry garden to see the raw materials used to make the silk products. Here, visitors learn about the 40 different kinds of mulberry, the silkworm breeds, and their life cycle. In the silkworm rearing house, visitors can see the silkworm cocoons, learn how the silkworms are fed, how the silk is unravelled from the cocoons, and even handpick some mulberry leaves for the silkworms.
Apart from a wide range of beautiful silk products on display in the showrooms, visitors will be deeply impressed by the eye-catching and colourful Cham brocade products, which include scarves, tablecloths, handbags and other souvenirs.
Cham brocade products usually feature the images of the Hindu gods Shiva and Ganesha, and subtle square or circular patterns. Each of the products takes a lot of time to weave. For example, it takes around 3 days to weave a head scarf.
A group of experienced Cham artisans from Ninh Thuan Province’s My Nghiep Silk Village now live and work at the Hoi An Silk Village, and they are very interested in weaving brocade items. These artisans are always willing to advise the visitors about how to choose the finest silk, and they will recommend suitable embroidery and textile products to their customers.
Artisan Dang Thi Tinh said that she has 56 years of experience in this traditional craft. She remarked, “To pursue this career and create even more attractive products, artisans must work meticulously, carefully, and patiently. Also, creativeness is an essential professional skill”.
She underlined that, despite her tough and low-paid job, she has a special emotional attachment to this traditional craft because she and her fellow workers want to preserve the values of this time-honoured craft and hand them down to younger generations.
By visiting the Hoi An Silk Village, visitors get an in-depth look at the history of weaving brocade - a traditional Cham craft.