Sunday, March 10, 2013

Koh Dach~Silk Weaver's Island on the Mekong

The Mekong River is a sandy bottom with swimming huts at the far end.  Vietnamese houses sit on the shore as we take the ferry across. The big city and huts are a dichotomy of the this country. Vietnamese women make banana rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves on the shore before going to the ferry. They also have their traditional food including pig intestines for sale.

Looms are under houses in the shade. We arrived after lunch which is the time for napping for young and old.  Since this tradition isn't necessarily being passed down to the next generation we quietly passed by sleeping houses with their ancient looms.

This is a unique shed changer to create the intricate patterns.

When the women found out we were there they swarmed around me, buy this buy this.  I'm not good in this situation and basically walked away to look at the looms.

This little guy is a pet.

Looking under the house.  This is during the dry season so lots of stuff accumulates.  During the rainy flooding season everything must be moved to dry spaces...upstairs.

This lovely Grandma is preparing cotton to spin.  It's an ancient mangle of sorts which I had seen in a museum and here it is still in use.  The Guide tried to tell me she spun it between her fingers like so...he said.  I incredulously said she doesn't use a wheel or spindle.  He asked her and yes the spindle was upstairs.  I would have loved to see the spindle and how she used it, but she is blind and it would be quite a process to go get it.

Little fish drying and for sale

Ty is happy with his purchase

Mango trees!  They were picking just the right ones for us. This is the Tuk Tuk driver picking them with a basket like affair that pulls and catches the fruit.

driver and guide examining the mangoes

supervising that he get just the right one!

washing the fruit

Cutting it into pieces and the women brought us a salty sweet hot dish to dip them into.  When they are a little green it's a great way to eat them.

House on stilts

Our guide had to show me the live escargot.  I'm so not into snails!

Yarn drying from the dye pot

A couple young school girls approached on the road with something fairly unique and lovely.  There is so much silk here and everyone is doing a different pattern

I found one I took home with me.  I loved working the girls.

This little man is quite a character.  He's peeling the bamboo into strips and making basket cages.  I'm not exactly sure what they are used for.

Back to the looms and the different patterns.  Great shuttles, all handmade.

even our driver was interested when he saw a man wove also

This is the tensioning board for the loom

I took this because I was fascinated with the temple used to spread the fabric evenly

The treadle is only a board across the bottom pulling down several harnesses

the brahma cow...only used as a beast of burden, no eating or milk

a stock of silk yarns

It was nice to see the young taking part.  She is working on the tension of the threads

quills for the shuttle...are they straws?

I must have had a funny look on my face looking at the long floats on the surface of the fabric.
The pattern is underneath

I was amazed at the way the changed shafts with the simple looms making such intricate patterns

You can see the bamboo rod that lifts the harness

She just continued to change from one harness to the next in order
I'm sure she thought it funny I was so interested

We were driving along and I had to stop...a warping board!

Cones behind the board, threads going up and over the board above them

She is holding to all the threads and warping on each peg

A yarn swift

This is what they are weaving

She is winding silk thread onto a cone from the swift using the bicycle wheel.  Quills are also wound this way

This is the fine yarn.  I could have bought a kilo for $120

Flowers and the house behind

Thatch platforms for bathers and they served us a meal

They were selling food from the boat

down to the huts on the Mekong River

We were on our way out on the rutted road and I was trying to get a picture of the lighthouse.  The driver and guide were ready to go back....

The rich and the poor, how do they make it so well???

They loaded a really heavy box on the cart for this little horse to pull up the hill.
To their credit they helped push, but it seemed a bit much.

Tuk Tuk loaded onto the ferry.  Many people wore face masks

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