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Indigenous People Weaving Culture in Cambodia

Indigenous People Weaving Culture in Cambodia

Currently, Mondulkiri Indigenous People’s Association for Development (MIPAD), which has been supported by Plan International Cambodia, is carrying out its activities under the project “Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation of Indigenous Communities in Mondulkiri”. In this regard, MIPAD has sent a project team to study and research the history of textile weaving and weaving equipment of Bunong ethnic minority group for further research documents. In addition, the association has formed a group of weavers, mostly women, and has received training in weaving skills in addition to the weaving skills they had acquired from their ancestors. And this work is also in addition to agricultural work which has been affected by climate change.

The textile weaving of Bu nong ethnic minority can weave such as scarfs (The Kama, Bunong’s language), blankets, bandwidth (Yus), handkerchiefs and handbags. The weaving process is similar in size to the size, while the style is not as easy as it is different in its production. The weaving process is long or short, depending on the production of various materials in large or small size. Usually, weaving a scarf of 20 × 180, 20 × 200, 25 × 180, 25 × 200 takes 4 days and is used for all events. A skirt with red and black colors, and together with some signs such as vegetable, seeds, dove’s egg, size 50 × 200, 60 × 200 takes 60 days and according to routine, it takes 1 year. Moreover, it was used in the wedding in which the groom’s family offers to the bride’s family, and then they use it to cover the head of buffalo which they already kill and used in the ceremony as souvenirs and objects. After the ceremony, the bride’s mother can use it as a blanket or skirts. A black and white bandwidth, consisting of the signs of human, trees, mountain, buffalos, cows and Pythagorean scratches sign; size 50 × 200, 60 × 200, 70 × 200, takes about 90 days, traditionally takes 1 year and 3 months, and is used for the same ceremony like scarfs. A small bandwidth can exchange a small buffalo, one cow, or one goat. A blanket with red, black, and white color, consisting of signs such as a small stream, houses, human, and mountains in the size of 250 × 300, 250 × 400, takes 180 days; traditionally it takes two-year. In the past, indigenous people, Bunong, do weaving only when they are free from doing farming. As a result, the weaving of Bunong takes very long time and the outcome from weaving is really valuable for them.

For its color, it was originally white, black, and red. To get a black color, Bunong collects small trees (not specific) and grind those trees to receive black ink. Once they received, they mixed black ink with cotton thread to get black cotton. For red, they traditionally used fruits which they were shaped like rambutan, and make it as red liquid and then mixed with cotton to become red-colored. Indigenous people, Bunong, popularly plant cotton for the purpose of their weaving culture.

Bunong’s weaving culture, all weavers must have enough equipment before they can weave, and all of them are Kei (Nak Cha, Bunong’s language), and Hong. And weaving and Design (Korm), there are designs that can be noted that it is the ancient Bunong indigenous community, such as: kitchen, Kaisna, arrow, guord, human, tiger’s nose, python, cucumber’s seed, doves, snake, spider’s nest, worm’s eyes, mountain, streams, person holding hands, walking path, great silver water beetle, wasp, grasshopper, jumbo of tiger, mosquitoes, trees, waterfalls, wild streams rabbit, pumpkin, rice. Each of designs represented: Arrow and Kaisna represent the hunting of Indigenous Peoples (Bunong). The kitchen represents the place of food. The python, the snake image, the nose of tiger image, and the great silver water beetle image represent fierce wildlife. The images of guord, cucumber, pumpkin, and rice represent the planting of crops. The images of a waterfall, wildlife, stream, mountain, and water represent the livelihood landscape of the ethnic minority, Bunong. Rabbits represent wise and intelligent people. Creating design is to make the textile fabrics look more attractive and beautiful. In that, the use of color also has its meaning, such as the colorful is the emblem of the hot element. Light colors are the cold element which refers to the beauty of nature and natural refreshing. As a result, they look beautiful in the Bunong’s weaving culture as well as the design of each textile.

Today, the weaving culture of Bunong Indigenous Peoples in Cambodia has been uninterested by people, since so far, a lot of them focus on only farming and pay very less attention and very less time practicing weaving skills that have been left behind by their ancestors. Because of the climate change, the farming, as well as the growing of the plant, have been seriously affected and the family situation of Indigenous Peoples, Bunong, have been challenged in their lives. Therefore, Mondulkiri Indigenous People’s Association for Development, under the support of Plan International Cambodia, has strived to provide training in agriculture, seeds selection, plant protection, planting techniques as well as to study the weaving tradition and provide additional skills to them in order to earn additional income aside from doing farming or agriculture.