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Flowery Hmong - Vietnam

(The Flowery Hmong in Vietnam are related to the Hmong/Miao in China who are referred to as Variegated Hmong/Miao, Big Flowery Hmong/Miao or Northeastern Dain Hmong.)

The Flowery or Variegated Hmong are the most numerous of the various Hmong groups in Vietnam. They refer to themselves as Hmong Lenh and are called Hmong Hoa by the Vietnamese. They speak a Chuanqiandian Hmongic language. Some early French sources (Girard) refer to them as Red Meo (not differentiating between them and the Red Hmong). Later French writers (Abadie) call them Flowery Meo. See Michael C Howard and Kim Be Howard 'Textiles of the Highland Peoples of Vietnam, Mon Khmer, Hmong-Mien, and Tibeto-Burman'. They describe the relatively large numbers of Flowery Hmong in northern Lao Cai and Yen Bai Provinces. (See Hmong in Vietnam for a short outline of some of the relevant literature.)  

The dress style of the Flowery Hmong varies considerably depending on location and the influence of neighbouring groups as illustrated by the photogallery below.  The photos were taken in Lai Chau and Lao Cai Provinces on a journey through northwest Vietnam in October 1995.  The first group were taken at a small road-side village near the town of Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province. These are followed by a couple of photos of Hmong women carrying their burden of bamboo back home through the town of Phong Tho in the early evening.  The next photos are taken in Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province, of a Flowery Hmong woman visiting the town but who lived very near the Chinese border.  The remaining group of photos were taken at a small local market on the way down from the mountains around Sa Pa towards the town of Lao Cai (which is a town located on the border between Vietnam and China).

all text & images Pamela A Cross
Click on thumbnail to go to enlargement - click on enlargement to return to photogallery
Flowery Hmong at a small road-side village near the town of Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province
to Jpeg 53K 9510G23 Young Flowery Hmong male with an older Flowery Hmong woman.  It appears that she is not wearing a short batik skirt but a longer indigo dyed wrap around one.  Outside a house in small road-side village near Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province.
to Jpeg 30K 9510G26  Flowery Hmong woman untieing a pleated skirt which has been rolled to keep the pleats in place.  It is just possible to see what is probably and insert of batik in the skirt. Note her blouse with applique and embroidery.  Outside a house in small road-side village near Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province.
to Jpeg 53K 9510G27  Flowery Hmong mother with her baby outside a house in small road-side village near Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province.
to Jpeg 44 K  9510G2Older Flowery Hmong woman with children outside a house in small road-side village near Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province. Note her short pleated skirt with batik and apliqued fabric squares and also her long, indigo apron.  Her head cloth will have been bought in the market - machine woven and imported from China.
to Jpeg 49K  9510G24 Older Flowery Hmong woman and child outside a house in small road-side village near Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province. Note her short pleated skirt with batik and apliqued fabric squares and also her long, indigo apron.  Her head cloth will have been bought in the market - machine woven and imported from China
to Jpeg 42K  9510G25 Flowery Hmong clothing hanging out to dry outside a house in small road-side village near Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province. A woman's jacket with applied strips over the shoulders and at the end of the sleeves and with some embroidery.  To the left is probably the long waist tie and apron or possibly a baby carrier.  The head cloth will have been bought in the market - machine woven and imported from China.
to Jpeg 35 K 9510G19 Flowery Hmong woman's short pleated skirt hanging out to dry outside a house in small road-side village near Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province. The skirt is dyed a dark indigo after very many dippings in the dye vat.  Note the inserted strip of wax resist fabric and the strip of pieced red, blue and white fabric squares from purchased fabric
to Jpeg 39 K  9510G20 Close up of part of a Flowery Hmong woman's short pleated skirt hanging out to dry outside a house in small road-side village near Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province. The skirt is dyed a dark indigo after very many dippings in the dye vat.  Note the inserted strip of wax resist fabric and the strip of pieced red, blue and white fabric squares from purchased fabric
to Jpeg 54K 9510G21 Flowery Hmong woman's blouse hanging out to dry outside a house in small road-side village near Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province
to Jpeg 45K  9510G18 Washing hanging out to dry outside a Flowery Hmong house in small road-side village near Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province.
Hmong walking through the town of Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province
to Jpeg 46K 9510G34  Hmong, possibly Flowery Hmong, walking home in the early evening through the town of Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province with their burden of cut bamboo.
to Jpeg 45K 9510G36  Hmong, possibly Flowery Hmong, walking home in the early evening through the town of Phong Tho (Phong Thanh) in Lai Chau Province with their burden of cut bamboo.
Flowery Hmong woman from the north of the region near the Chinese border visiting Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province
to Jpeg 48K 9510K26  Brightly dressed Flowery Hmong woman walking down the street in Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province.  She is a visitor to Sa Pa, in the town on a training programme, and lives near the Chinese border. The Flowery Hmong near to the border tend to wear more bought trimmings on their clothing which they obtain from China.  Note her embroidered and applique leg wrappings and her long apron.  She only very narrow bands of wax resist on her skirt which features applied strips of fabric and embroidery.
to Jpeg 48K 9510K29  Brightly dressed Flowery Hmong woman walking down the street in Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province.  She is a visitor to Sa Pa, in the town on a training programme, and lives near the Chinese border. The Flowery Hmong near to the border tend to wear more bought trimmings on their clothing which they obtain from China.  Note her embroidered and applique leg wrappings and her long apron.  She only very narrow bands of wax resist on her skirt which features applied strips of fabric and embroidery.
Jpeg 42K 9510K28  Brightly dressed Flowery Hmong woman at a shop stall in Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province.  She is a visitor to Sa Pa, in the town on a training programme, and lives near the Chinese border. The Flowery Hmong near to the border tend to wear more bought trimmings on their clothing which they obtain from China.  Note her embroidered and applique leg wrappings and her long apron.  She only very narrow bands of wax resist on her skirt which features applied strips of fabric and embroidery.
Jpeg 45K 9510K27  Brightly dressed Flowery Hmong woman at a shop stall in Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province.  She is a visitor to Sa Pa, in the town on a training programme, and lives near the Chinese border. The Flowery Hmong near to the border tend to wear more bought trimmings on their clothing which they obtain from China.  Note her embroidered and applique leg wrappings and her long apron.  She only very narrow bands of wax resist on her skirt which features applied strips of fabric and embroidery.
Flowery Hmong at a small market at the roadside going from Sa Pa towards the border town of Lao Cai
to Jpeg 51K  9510K31 Flowery Hmong women at a small local market on the way down from the mountains around Sa Pa towards the town of Lao Cai, Lao Cai Province. Note their plain indigo dyed leg wrappings; mid-length skirt with applique, wax resist insert with some applique; relatively short front and back machine applique aprons; and blouses - one purchased velour and the other indigo dyed woven bast or purchased cotton fabric with applique and possibly some embroidery around the neck, front opening and sleeve bottoms.  On their heads one woman is wearing an imported machine woven woollen scarf from China and the other appears to be wearing an apron to protect her head from the sun.I bought a length of wax resist and a machine applique apron from these women.
to Jpeg 37K   Flowery Hmong women at a small local market on the way down from the mountains around Sa Pa towards the town of Lao Cai, Lao Cai Province. Note their plain indigo dyed leg wrappings; mid-length skirts with machine applique, wax resist insert with some applique, embroidered insert; relatively short front and back machine applique aprons; machine applique bags hanging at the waists of two of the women; and blouses - one purchased velour and two indigo dyed woven bast or purchased cotton fabric with applique and possibly some embroidery around the neck, front opening and sleeve bottoms.  On their heads two women are wearing imported machine woven woollen scarfs from China and the other appears to be wearing an apron to protect her head from the sun.I bought a length of wax resist and a machine applique apron from these women.
to Jpeg 56K  9510K32 Flowery Hmong women at a small local market on the way down from the mountains around Sa Pa towards the town of Lao Cai, Lao Cai Province. Note their plain indigo dyed leg wrappings; mid-length skirts with machine applique, wax resist with some applique; relatively short front and back machine applique aprons; machine applique bag hanging at the waist; and blouses - one purchased velour and the other indigo dyed woven bast or purchased cotton fabric with applique and possibly some embroidery around the neck, front opening and sleeve bottoms.  On their heads both women are wearing imported machine woven woollen scarfs from China. The woman in the centre of the photograph is wearing a white metal necklace and some striking earrings. I bought a length of wax resist and a machine applique apron from these women.
for other Hmong in Vietnam see | Black Hmong | Red Hmong |
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this page last updated 2 January, 2004