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Vietnamese conical hats

Sat, 14 Mar 2015 . Last updated Mon, 01 Jun 2015 14:23

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Vietnamese conical hats can be seen in all parts of the S-shaped country, from the peaceful Northern countryside to the white sand Central region and the Southern region of rivers. Simple and elegant hats make Vietnamese women more and more graceful.

 Vietnam is a tropical country. So, Vietnamese people use conical hats for sheltering themselves from the scorching sun and sudden rain. Conical hats have been used in daily life of Vietnamese people since ancient times. Over time, conical hats have changed a lot in shape and size. At first, conical hats were made from bamboo bark and later from eaves like palm leaves. In the past, conical hats were not only reserved for women. They were used by people from all walks of life. Social classes had their own hats which had different shapes and were made from different materials. Then the hats were used for recognizing social backgrounds.

Hundreds of years ago, Chuong village, Thanh Oai district, Hanoi was known as the place specialized in making hats for queens, princesses and concubines. Hats made in the village were very durable opaque in color and had their rims stitched with red thread. The fame of Chuong hats was shown in the following saying: “If you want to wear good hats, come to Chuong village.”

The imprints of the craft of making conical hats in Chuong village are seen in the local market held 6 times a month.  Earlier, only conical hats of various shapes were sold in the market. They sold conical hats to traders from other places, which led to the spread of. Nowadays, hats are made in many places and the market in Chuong village is not as busy as it was in the past. However, local people are still proud of their hats. Chuong hats

In Chuong village, old people and children are involved in making hats. Each house is a workshop. It requires many stages to make a beautiful hat. Hats in the village are both durable and soft. The skill of Chuong hat makers is shown in the way they hide the knots of thread. Straight and slim stitches go along 16 rings that support the hat.

It takes half a day to complete a hat. It requires great meticulous to make hats. However, locals do not want to give up the traditional craft. Now, people in Chuong village specialize in making Xuan Kieu and Ba Don hats. Earlier, this place was famous for Quai thao hats. Women’s way of wearing costumes changes with time. In the Tran dynasty, imperial aids often wore “non thuong”. Quai thao hats were expensive, beautiful and smart. Vietnamese women often wore them in festivals or important events.

Nowadays, no one wears Quai thao hats. However, sometimes, people in Chuong village still make Qua thao hats to preserve their traditional craft. Quai thao hats have been a familiar item of headgear for a long time: Who makes Quai thao hats that make women all look beautiful? No one knows when the first Quai thao hat was made and who made it. However, it is undeniable that Quai thao hats are both useful and help to enhance the beauty of Vietnamese women. Quai thao hats are an indispensable part of traditional costumes worn in “quan ho” singing festivals or “cheo” singing sessions together with the “mo qua” kerchief and the “tu than” dress. The vitality of folklore is really great. Life may change. However, traditional values last forever.

Hue hats are elegant and soft. They are white and decorated with beautiful motifs which can be seen only against the light. Along with “ao dai”, conical hats are closely associated with Vietnamese women. They have become the symbol of Hue’s beauty. According to historical documents, conical hats first appeared in the Northern region, then the Central region and finally the Southern one. At first, they were called “non la buong” because they were made from “buong” leaves, bamboo bark and thread which were available in Trang Bang, Tay Ninh and Tan Hiep, My Tho.

Southern conical hats are simple but they still highlight the wearers’ femininity. Along with “Ao ba ba” (Vietnamese silk dress), conical hats are closely associated with Southern women: “Homeland is a small bamboo bridge

On which mother comes back home with a conical hat on her head…”

The management board of Hanoi Old Quarter held a program entitled “Traditional hat with the contemporary installation art” at Kim Ngan communal house to help foreign visitors and young Vietnamese people get a better insight into the traditional hat making craft. Conical hats from famous hat-making villages across the country converged on the communal house.  In the event, visitors could realize the change in Vietnamese people’s aesthetics through historical periods and the importance of conical hats in everyday life of Vietnamese women.


Source: VTC10 - NETVIET

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