Coming to the traditional craft village in An Giang, anyone is surprised when touching on strips of iridescent silk woven from skillful hands of craftsmen.
Located in the northwest of An Giang province, Tan Chau town has long known for its famous silk weaving. Tan Chau silk is made of silkworm, beautiful patterns and stable colors. To create shiny scrolls of golden silk, Tan Chau people have to pay much attention to mulberry cultivation, silkworm rearing, reeling, weaving and dyeing. This is a hereditary profession, be kept from generation to generation.
In the past, traditional silkworm rearing techniques were quite meticulous and hard-working. There are hundreds of burning stoves with huge copper pots above. Cocoon is poured into boiling water pot, pulling silk and wrap into spinning wheel. Standing near the stove, water emits a greasy fragrance like noodle broth. Silk makers stir continuously cocoon pot and rotate the wheel of golden silk at the same time until in the pot only remains dead bodies of new silkworms. Newborns are used for salad or roasted dishes. Silkworm feces are reserved as fertilizer.
Silk is dyed with diospyros mollis fruits that make silk become shiny black. Diospyros mollis fruits have round shape as Thailand apples. It is pound and then soaked in water, embeds silk and dried under sun. This process is repeated many times.
Thanks to this kind of fruit, Tan Chau silk is famous throughout the country because of its dark black. Even when clothing is worn, that black color is still kept intact.
Today, Tan Chau silkworm nursery as well as weaving profession has been continuously improved. Acquiring new technical achievements, all stages are used with machines to produce softer silk. The productivity has significantly increased. Costumes made of silk look soft and smooth and help wearers more elegant and aristocratic.
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