An item known by numerous names in both Asian and Western culture is the Asian conical hat. While nations like China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, and the Philippines all have their unique names for these magnificent objects, the Vietnamese term for them is nón lá, which translates to “leaf hat.” You may be a little more familiar with some of the English names for the hat, such as coolie hat, rice hat, bamboo hat, or china hats.
You will see the caps being worn every day as you travel through Vietnam or its surrounding countries, and you will be tempted to wear one yourself. Try it out! They will not only shield you from the sun but also help you blend in with the throng and end up becoming a great keepsake.
Where Are Conical Hats Originated?
Although they are widely worn across Asia, conical hats are said to have originated in Vietnam. This headgear made its debut almost three thousand years ago. The history of rice cultivation in Vietnam has a rich history that is connected to the creation of this amazing artwork.
She wore a hat made of four round leaves to shield her from the rainfall, according to rumors that a big woman from the sky wished to save humanity from a torrent of rain. Using palm fronds, the Vietnamese made an effort to imitate her actions.
They constructed a design that is now well-known as nón lá, stitched together to make a cap. Since the introduction of the initial model, there have been more than 50 different variations worldwide in terms of size and shape. Traditionally, men wore hats with greater rims up to 1 meter in diameter, while ladies wore taller cones with smaller rims!
Conical hats are made in what manner?
The palm leaves from palm trees, which are cheap and easily accessible, are used to make Nón Lá hats. To increase their strength and durability, the leaves are first thrashed and allowed to dry in the hot sun. Ironing the leaves is the next step. Due to the need for perfection every time, this process may be viewed as an art form.
The leaves will burn if there is too much heat, but they won’t straighten if there is not enough heat. Bamboo sticks that have been treated and shaved are bent to form the primary frame. Rings of various sizes are piled to create rings of various diameters. After that, rings are connected to vertical stripes to form a net structure.
Then, skilled weavers will use nearly undetectable threads to stitch palm leaves to this framework. One hat might take a novice up to a whole day to make! Silk threads will be affixed from each side underneath the base, and the wearer will then utilize this as a neck strap. The conical hat is then heatedly pressed and given a protective layer by being coated in turpentine oil. These last stages enable the wearer to use the clothing cheerfully without worrying about mold growth or natural deterioration.
What Do They Serve?
For decades, people in Vietnam have worn conical hats to shield themselves from the heat and rain, especially in the Mekong Delta. You will see many men, women, and children wearing them throughout Asia, demonstrating that these items are neither age- nor gender-specific. When buying food and other products from the market, women utilize these hats as baskets.
When constructed of straw or matting, they can even be used as a cooling device. This is accomplished by immersing the hat in water, which will evaporate and allow the user to cool off in the sometimes oppressive Vietnamese heat. Special nón lás have also been created for children, monks, and even soldiers. They are a potent emblem of Vietnamese culture.
Poem lines are weaved in between the layers of leaves in more delicate patterns. Young ladies often seek for these lovely interpretations to seem more refined and delicate, with vividly colored caps utilized at festivals and other occasions. It is difficult to dispute that these conical hats are among the biggest and nicest souvenirs for traveling in Asia, and they are widely available for purchase.