The Conical Hat A Chuong Village Specialty

Chuong Village is located in Phuong Trung Commune, Thanh Oai District, Ha Tay Province, and 30km from the southwest of Hanoi City.

A traditional craft of Chuong villagers is the making of conical hats, many of which are sold under such brands as Xuan Kieu, Quai Thao, La Trang and La Vang. The craft of making conical hats has been a part of Chuong Village for as long as anyone can remember, and nobody knows exactly when the first hats were made. As one story goes, the conical hats of this village were a precious offering to the Queen and the Princesses of Vietnam in the past.

Arriving in Chuong Village, one finds its villagers busy making conical hats. Children here start learning to make conical hats when they are still quite small. From simple raw materials, palm leaves and bamboo, Chuong Villagers with skillful hands make the beautiful, white conical hats. Looking at such hats, one would hardly guess that they are partly made of wizened green palm leaves.

Chuong Villagers create the hats by heating up a flat piece of iron to the necessary temperature to press palm leaves, neither too hot nor too cool. After this, the palm leaves are steamed with sulfur, which causes the white color and prevents the hats from becoming musty after being worn. The palm leaves are then put onto conical hat frames to be sewn by hand. The frame of each conical hat is made of 15 or 17 bamboo rings.

These days, visitors to Chuong Village find a bustling work atmosphere similar to a factory. Palm leaves are transported to the village from the provinces of Quang Binh and Thanh Hoa, and bamboo and other materials come from mountainous regions and other central provinces. Almost every family in Chuong Village takes part in making the conical hats.

Today, they are worn by almost all country girls. The hats are appearing more and more at many fairs and exhibitions throughout Vietnam and are becoming a popular souvenir for international visitors to the country. This special product of Chuong Village is available throughout Vietnam and in several foreign countries, including Japan, China, and Thailand.

(Source: Vietnam Economic News)

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