Triptychs of Strangers #30: The Blue Inked Red Dzao, Taphin Village - Sapa
Oh, great! It's weekend and finally some time to do a little writeup for a triptych i wanted a post a long time ago. As far as you are able to read between the
lines photos I had a great time in vietnam. Even though it was really cold during the first week - especially in Hanoi and Sapa (down to 2°).
I am happy that I brought this project to the hill tribes of northern vietnam. I actually didn't plan to go Sapa, but luckily friends in Hanoi managed to persuade me. I am absolutely convinced that I will return with more time to this place and the Mekong Delta.
About this shot
It was my last day in Sapa and I rented a motorbike to visit a village called Taphin. This place is known to be a Red Dzao place but as I learned there are Black Hmong people living there too. It has not always been like that - those two tribe living in one place. But for about a decade these nice people are more tolerant among each other and even cross tribe marriages are possible.
About this stranger
Meet Jaa, she is 56 years old and she is member of an ethnic group known as Red Dzao. If you ever meet a Red Dzao in the streets ;-) you might recognize them from their beautiful red turbans (they come in many forms) and these iconic clothes. Addionally as a Red Doa woman Jaa has her eyebrows and forehead shaved off - she told me that this is traditionally regarded as a sign of beauty.
Her english was remarkable and in general the english of any other hill tribe member around Sapa is actually better than the english of the people in Hanoi.
Jaa has a husband and five kids (four girls and one boy). They make their living from cultivating corn and rice, but since they have seasonal weather in this subtropical area of vietnam they learned to market themselves …. their handcrafting skills to be exact. Means they sell metal or silver bracelets, bags, scarf or any sewed and embroidered type of clothes you can imagine.
What wondered me the most is their persisting style of selling their stuff. As soon as you enter a village of hill tribe they follow you all the way through the village … I knew this from other villages and I know I could have sent them off easily, but I pretty much enjoyed Jaa's company. The way she introduced me to everyone and giving me informations about her view on life in general was mind-blowing. Buying a souvenir in the end was pretty much a win win situation here.
By the way hand made goods are only sold by the woman - her husband always stayed at home and was looking after their children and now helping out with their children's children. I am under the expression that only this is the reason why the woman speak english so well, know how to write while the men can't.
I bet she has been inking cloth a couple of days ago. You must know they use indigo plants to give their clothes this deep dark blue. Without any precautions made you can expect your fingers to be blue for a coupe of days.
Who else can our strangers #30 be than "The Blue Inked Red Dzao"