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In the mountains of northern Vietnam, the rich weaving tradition has long created opportunities in textile production for women and girls of the Muong group. The only surviving descendants of the early Vietnamese, the Muong have maintained their traditional way of life, in contrast to the Chinese-influenced culture of Northern lowland communities. In Muong culture, young girls inherit weaving techniques from their mothers beginning at an early age. The harmonious patterns, such as the ones seen on this pillow, are colored by natural dyes: red from the bang tree, blue from the indigo plant, yellow from turmeric and saffron, and black from guava leaves and roots. Because their religious beliefs are rooted in animism - the belief in a supernatural power that enlivens the material world - the intricate designs of their textiles are said to subtly depict the weavers' souls.