The Dao (pronounced Zao) are the 9th largest ethnic group in Vietnam with a population of just under 500,000. They belong to the Hmong Dao language group and are believed to have started migrating from China in the 13th century. The women wear some of the most colourful and diverse costumes of all ethnic groups but can be identified by their black trousers richly embroidered with flower or small star patterns. Their jackets can be red or black usually with embroidered borders. The ensemble is topped by a black or red turban together with chunky silver jewelry. In addition most Dao women shave off their eyebrows and foreheads as this is traditionally regarded as a sign of beauty.
The Black Dao women of Binh Lu district wear plain black trousers together with black jackets decorated at the sleeves and collars with thin bands of embroidery, coins and beads finished with a maroon ruff. The hair is worn distinctively in a chignon and kept in place by a large silver frame which sits on top of the head; it is then wrapped in thick black cord and finally covered by a black scarf decorated with beads and maroon tassels.