VietnamSurprise – For a very long time, the image of young women with “Nón lá” (conical hats) and “Áo dài” (Vietnamese gown) has become a symbol of Hue people and Hue tourism. By visiting a conical hat making village, you will see how conical hats are made and to learn more about the culture and people of Hue.
The conical hat making has been a traditional trade in Hue for hundreds of years, with many craft villages like “Dạ Lê”, “Phú Cam’, “Triều Tây”, “Đốc Sơ”, “Kim Long”,… Among them, “Tây Hồ” is the most famous because it is the place of origin of the “Nón lá” in Hue. “Tây Hồ” Village is located on the bank of the “Như Ý” river, Phu Ho commune, Phu Vang District, about 12 km from Hue City.
There are 15 steps for making a conical hat, 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 “Bồ Qui Diệp” are collected from the forest. They are then exposed to mist, dried and ironed. The next step, use 16 small bamboo splints for making a frame, then the leaves will be attached to the frame. This stage is called “cham,” which is usually made by young girls.
The Hue’s conical hats are famous thanks to this stage, and always have two layers of leaves. The craftsmen must be very skillful to make the two layers very thin. Now, the hats will be covered by oil and dried under the sun.
The conical hats become more specially when craftsmen add the paintings of Hue and poems between the two layers of leaves, creating “Nón bài thơ” (poetic conical hats). Hue’s conical hat has become indispensable gifts from Hue.
How to buy “Nón bài thơ”?
To buy Hue’s conical hats which made from “Tây Hồ” village, tourists can go to “Dạ Lê” market in Thuy Van Commune, Huong Thuy District. You also can buy at all big and small markets in Hue such as: Dong Ba, An Cuu and Ben Ngu, but “Dạ Lê” is more attractive because this market sells only one product – conical hats and materials to make conical hats.