The making of Central Highland fabric (tho cam)
The techniques used to make tho cam, the traditional woven cloth worn by ethnic minorities in Vietnam’s highlands, have been passed down through generations.
In the past, after each harvest season, the women of ethnic minority villages would spend their days at their looms making cloth.
Making tho cam involves growing cotton, spinning, dyeing and weaving. The cloth is traditionally made into clothes, blankets, bags, scarves and trousers.
Different types of trees and leaves are used to dye the fabric. Traditionally, black symbolizes the Central Highlands, red represents aspiration and love and yellow is the color of light. Green and blue are considered the color of heaven and earth.
Clothes and accessories made from tho cam were highly valued for the skill, dedication and artistry of the weaver.
Women wear traditional tho cam clothes for festivals and daily life. Traditionally, households with the most beautiful handiwork were highly respected and prosperous.
Each highland village nowadays only has a handful of tho cam weavers.