Discover Vietnam’s 54+ Ethnicities - Southern Vietnam

Learn about diverse ethnic groups currently living in Southern Vietnam.

The Xtieng by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

Over the course of nearly a decade, the French photographer Réhahn researched and photo-documented all 54 official ethnic groups in Vietnam,  with the hope of increasing the public’s understanding of tribal culture in the country.

The Khmer by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The Precious Heritage Collection

The final collection of full-color portraits of tribal members in their traditional garments, alongside artifacts, heritage crafts, and stories is on display in the Precious Heritage Museum in Hoi An, Vietnam.

The Cham by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

SOUTHERN VIETNAM

In this virtual exhibit, you’ll discover one-of-a-kind stories, tribal textiles, and portraits from Southern ethnic groups the Kinh, Co Ho, Cho Ro, Xtieng, Cham, Khmers, Chu Ru, Raglai, & Ma.

The Kinh by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The Kinh

The Kinh are more commonly known as the Viet. They are the largest ethnic group in Vietnam, making up more than 85% of the population.

The Kinh reside all over Vietnam and speak Vietnamese, though the dialect can change dramatically based on the region.

The K Ho by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The Co Ho

This tribe is known as the Co Ho, K'Ho or Koho. They originate from the Central Highlands in Vietnam and are skilled coffee farmers.

The K Ho by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

They still wear their traditional garments to church on Sundays but this is falling out of favor with younger generations.

The Xtieng by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The Xtieng

The Xtieng, otherwise known as Stieng, count their age according to the number of harvests they have gathered.

The Xtieng by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The older women in the village wear skirts and no tops; they adorn themselves with beaded jewelry and rings and often smoke wooden pipes.

The Cho Ro by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The Cho Ro

There are approximately 27,000 Cho Ro living in Vietnam.

The Cho Ro by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The chief of the Cho Ro ethnic group gifted the last traditional ethnic garments left in his village to The Precious Heritage Museum for preservation.

The Cham by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The Cham

Cham history goes back to the 2nd century when parts of South and Central Vietnam were part of the Kingdom of Champa.

The Cham by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

Cham Song
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Relics from this ancient civilization can still be found in the region and the group continues to make silk garments. They are the root of Muslimism in Vietnam.

The Khmer by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The Khmers

The Khmers Krom (meaning Khmer from Below) are the second largest ethnic group in Mekong Delta, after the Kinh.

The Khmer by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

Only women of over 50 still wear their traditional dress to go to the temple and shave their heads as a sign of respect for Buddha.

The Chu Ru by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The Chu Ru

The Chu Ru have a strong link to the Cham, which can be witnessed by the style of their traditional dress.

The Chu Ru by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The group is known for making rice wine, and having a strongly artistic and musical culture.

The Raglai by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The Raglai

The Raglai live near the coast of Nha Trang in the hills. Their homes are constructed on stilts with thatched roofs.

The Raglai by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The near loss of their tribal dress occurred after the war when many members burned their traditional garments to fit in with the Kinh.

The Ma by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The Ma

K'Mang, the woman in this photograph, is 103 years old.

The Ma by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The white Ma tribal garments have largely been replaced with a black version with bright details. Parents, in awareness of the decline of their traditions, teach their culture and language to their children.

The Chu Ru by RéhahnPrecious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

Read more about Vietnam's diverse tribal cultures in the series: Discover Vietnam's Ethnicities - North and Central Vietnam

Credits: Story

Text by Réhahn with Molly Headley 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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