Artisan Spotlight: Hmong Tribe | Thailand

Rising Team - Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Our partner group Amano employs 40 full-time Hmong artisans in northern Thailand. The Hmong are an ethnic group who have origins in Siberia, and have migrated south over centuries. Today, the Hmong live throughout Southeast Asia, and in the highland areas of southern China. 

The word Hmong means “Human Being” or “Free People” in the Hmong language. They are primarily subsistence farmers and gatherers, and their artisan income is typically crucial supplemental income to their farming. Of the 40 Amano Hmong artisans, 25 live in the highlands of northern Thailand, and make traditional Hmong textiles. The other 15 artisans work in a workshop in Chang Mai, making embroidered purses and jewelry. This is where Rising’s Amano Wrap bracelets come from! These artisans are highly skilled and specialized in their craft, and in this instance they are the primary wage-earners for their families. Because of the income the women are earning from their handicraft, they no longer work in agricultural jobs.

Interesting to know: The Hmong traditionally live together in large, extended families. Their elders are greatly respected. The culture also respects their ancestors, and they retain cultural identity through telling of ancient stories and poems.  Women’s crafts include traditional handmade textile work (clothing and quilts) using a reverse appliqué quilting method. The major themes in their work incorporate symbols for love, longevity, and life.

See the beautiful Amano bracelets here.

Photo credit: Amano Fair Trade