09:36 | 09/03/2017 Local Industry
(VEN) - The production of conical hats in Chuong Village of Hanoi’s Thanh Oai District has a long history, providing a livelihood for many villagers. Pham Thi Hoa, who has been making conical hats for nearly 60 years, said villagers produce different types of conical hats, in addition to products made according to traditional design.
Conical hat production requires meticulousness. The Corypha saribus leaves, thread and frame are indispensable for this task. Framing is the hardest job, as it decides the product shape and quality. The hat frame is made of bamboo that is thoroughly soaked in water for high durability.
According to Hoa, all Chuong villagers can make conventional conical hats, while only some can produce sophisticated products such as flat palm hats with fringes. Stitching is easier when the weather gets wet because humidity makes the leaves softer, while dry weather can make the leaves chap.
Traditional conical hats are facing tough competition from industrial production. While a conventional conical hat sells for VND30,000-80,000, a flat palm hat with fringes goes for VND100,000-120,000. Despite difficulties, Chuong villagers have maintained their traditional occupation. Not only elderly artisans like Hoa, but also young villagers have been devoting their life to the craft.
Villager Nguyen Thi Hien said her parents were taught how to make conical hats by her father’s parents, and that she and her younger sisters have been making them, too. Children, young and elderly people can all stitch, working to improve incomes. Nguyen Thi Yen is one of the few young villagers who can make flat palm hats with fringes. Yen said although making this kind of hat is difficult and requires skill, she enjoys doing it. “There are few villagers capable of making flat palm hats with fringes. I am successful in learning how to make the product and I will try to maintain and improve my skills. I am willing to teach other people to make them,” Yen said.
Chuong conical hats were present at many major exhibitions as a symbol of Vietnamese culture. The chairman of the Vietnam Craft Villages Association, Lu Duy Dan, said conical hat-making is being maintained, while production of flat palm hats with fringes has been restored. This is good for Chuong Village in particular and Vietnam as whole, Dan said.