In Hue, the conical hat has existed for a long time not only as a sun safe tool but also as traditional indispensable accessory expressing the hidden charms and simplicity of Vietnamese women. Therefore, Hue conical hat is made a bit differently than other city, thinner and lighter and more artistic. Hue conical hat is also plaited with palm leaves but thinner and its stitches are tinier and more gentle. Especially, artisans weave typical images of Hue such as Thien Mu Pagoda, Trang Tien Bridge or even poems into the hat and make it distinct. As decorated with poems, Hue’s conical hat is also called Bai Tho conical hat.
In many places beautiful and poetic of Hue, do not forget to visit the conical hats village to see the charming hat was made step by step from skilled hands.
Hue conical hat making villages
There are many conical hat making villages in Hue like Da Le, Phu Cam, Doc So, Trieu Tay, Kim Long, Sia … Among them, Tay Ho is the most prominent name because it is the place of origin of the non la in Hue. Tay Ho Village is located on the bank of the Nhu Y River, in Phu Ho commune, Phu Vang District, 12 km from Hue City.
How to make a conical hat
A simple conical hat is made after 15 stages, from going to the forest to collect leaves to clean and dry leaves, iron leaves, select leave, making frames, etc.
Young leaves of the tree named “Bo Qui Diep” are collected from the forest. The leaves are then exposed to mist, dried and ironed. The next step is making a frame from 16 small bamboo splints. After that leaves will attached to the frame. This stage is called “cham,” which is usually made by young girls.
Hue’s conical hats are famous thanks to this stage. Hue’s conical hats always have two layers of leaves. Craftsmen must be very skillful to make the two layers very thin. After this stage, the hats will be covered by oil and dried under the sun.
To make the conical hats more special, craftsmen add paintings of Hue and poems between the two layers of leaves, creating “non bai tho” (poetic conical hats). Conical hats have become indispensable gifts from Hue.
Where to buy a conical hat in Hue
To buy Tay Ho’s conical hats, visitors can go to Da Le market in Thuy Van Commune, Huong Thuy District. Though all big and small markets in Hue like Dong Ba, An Cuu and Ben Ngu have conical hats, Da Le is more attractive because this market sells only one product – conical hats and materials to make conical hats.