The Batik, a wax resist decorative technique used on fabric, is very typical for the culture of H’Mong people, an ethnic minority group located mainly in the Northern West of Vietnam.
The H’Mong people create batik patterns by using tjanting tool (or canting), a traditional pen used in batik with a wooden holder and a metal nib. The woman usually uses Tjanting tool to put in the melting mixed bowl of wax and candle that kept in coal basin to keep the mixtures under liquid form to draw directly on hemp. After drawing, the hemp will be dipped in the indigo pot and left to dry. To get dark blue or black, the hemp is dyed more than 40 times for 2 weeks and dried under the sun ensuring that wax is still in condense condition. To remove the wax, the hemp is boiled as the last step of batik processing, and the bold patterns in white colors are set against shades of blue or back indigo.
In the whole processing of batik, creation of pattern asks for precision, high concentration as well as high art senses since no change can be made after drawing.
Without written language, patterns are normally formed from tress, forest and birds stylized from square, circle, triangle, parallel, zig zag… that used as decorations for Daily Clothing ( trousers, shirts, jackets, head scarves, hats, protective leggings, belts and shoes), Household Items, (Blankets, bags, string) and Ceremonial Uses (Funeral clothing, and new year’s clothing: highly decorative jackets, skirts, trousers, sashes and shoes.
Hemps cultivated started in February (lunar month) for about only 3.5 months to keep soft fiber are mainly used that for cloth textile. Though, making hemp fabric is a laborious process, the end result is a strong durable cloth with the qualities similar to linen.
To stay with Black' Hmon Homestay in Sapa, it is a great chance for a real experience of Batik!