23/04/2015 10:30 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

The Unique Costumes of the Ba Na People

The humble patterns and designs decorated on the Ba Na’s brocaded clothes are a unique characteristic of Tay Nguyen (the Central Highlands) region.

Dressing in colourful traditional costumes during the festival of the Ba Na, a young girl, Y Ly, in Dak Wot Hamlet, Ho Moong Commune, Sa Thay District, Kon Tum Province shared, “From early childhood, we learned to weave brocade. At the age of 14 or 15, we are able to make our own clothes.” 

The craft of weaving cloth and making clothes is handed down and inherited through generations of the Ba Na. Their clothes are made from cotton fibre. After harvesting, cotton seeds which are surrounded by fibre are sun-dried for three days before being put into a cotton gin to separate the fibre from the seeds and formed into thread, which is smoothed afterwards with honey. This makes the Ba Na’s clothes different from those of other ethnic communities. 


 Patterns embroidered on the clothes of Ba Na women.

Patterns depicting Neu trees are embroidered on the Ba Na’s clothes.

In traditional festivals, traditional costumes are an important part that represents the unique
cultural identity of the Ba Na people.

 Y Ly, a Ba Na girl, shines in her ethnic community’s traditional costumes..

The Ba Na’s  clothes have three main colours of  red and black.

 Ba Na men wear pull-over shirts with open necks and T-shaped loincloths which hang around their waist.

Ba Na young girls wear colourful traditional costumes.

 Ba Na young women in their traditional clothes perform dances in traditional festivals.

Ba Na people always wear traditional costumes during their festivals.

The traditional costume for Ba Na village patriarchs.

According to Hoang Dinh Chung from the Division of Relics, Kon Tum’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ba Na’s  clothes have three main colours: yellow, red and black. Each colour bears its own meaning. Red represents strength and love while white is for ambition and dreams and black is for power and the force of  nature. Among these colours, black is the most important and is thought to have super-natural strength.

Dyeing is carefully done to add beautiful colours to the clothes which are diverse in decorations. Dye is extracted from natural trees and plants. For example, yellow is from Ktron tubers and white is from Kxan tubers.
Another highlight of the Ba Na’s clothes is the manifold decorative patterns. Ba Na men often dress in a pull-over shirt with a V-neck. The shirt is short-sleeved with a white hem and red stripes running horizontally across it. The back of the shirt is embroidered with images of the Neu tree (the lunar New Year pole) and its front is decorated with daisies. Men wear a T-shaped loincloth which winds around the waist, passing between the thighs and partially covering the buttocks. They also wrap a scarf in an axe-shape around their heads.

Clothes for Ba Na women include a sleeveless shirt and a skirt. Patterns are decorated horizontally across the shirt’s hem and chest as well as surrounding the neck and armholes. The skirt’s waistband and hem are also embroidered with patterns. There are colourful fringes running from the waistband to the hem on both sides.


Story: Quynh Anh – Photos: Trinh Bo