Crafty destinations

Vinh Thinh conical hat

Non la (conical hats) made in Vinh Thinh village in Hanoi have been favored by customers nationwide for hundreds of years. 
In the early 20th century, making conical hats in Vinh Thinh village, Dai Ang commune, Thanh Tri district was developed.  Products made by Vinh Thinh villagers were mainly exported to China at a rate of millions of hats a month. The local economy improved sharply at that time.

According to deputy head of the village, Nguyen Ba Tich, the traditional craft has been preserved and developed from generation to generation. Elder villagers do not know when non la making started in Vinh Thinh village. When they were still small, they were taught how to make conical hats by their parents.

Making a conical hat requires many phases and are made by hand. The first part is selecting material, including palm leaves and bamboo. Selected bamboo are soaked in ponds one month before making a hat. Normally, the different phases of making a leaf hat are divided between each member in every household. Because of their skillfulness, women always do the roofing leaves and sewing. Thanks to the skillful hands of the villagers, Vinh Thinh conical hats are highly appreciated in both style and quality, including decorative hats and artistic hats.

Drying leaves. Photo: Thanh Giang/VNP

The leaves are cleaned. Photo: Thanh Giang/VNP

Ironing leaves. Photo: Thanh Giang/VNP

Making a conical frame. Photo: Thah Giang/VNP

Preparing leaves for roofing. Photo: Thanh Giang/VNP

Vinh Thinh artisans are skillful in making conical hats. Photo: Thanh Giang/VNP


 Sewing leaves to the hat's rim. Photo: Thanh Giang/VNP

Finishing hats. Photo: Thanh Giang/VNP

Conical hats are ready for sale. Photo: Thanh Giang/VNP

In 2020, all households in the village reached a consensus to establish the Vinh Thinh – Dai Ang handicraft cooperative following a project by the Hanoi government to preserve and develop traditional craft villages.  At present, the village maintains its hundred year old market which is a typical feature of traditional craft villages. The market is open on the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 9th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 19th, 22nd, 24th, 26th and 29th of very lunar month to trade materials and products among households and merchants. The finished products are then transported to wholesale markets nationwide for sale or export. 

Vinh Thinh conical hats were brought to the stage of the Folk Culture in Contemporary Life Festival 2020. Photo: Thanh Giang/VNP

Vinh Thinh products are on display at expos and exhibitions nationwide. Photo: Thanh Giang/VNP

Foreign visitors choose to buy Vinh Thinh conical hats. Photo: Thanh Giang/VNP

Vinh Thinh conical hats at the Folk Culture in Contemporary Life Festival 2020. Photo: Thanh Giang/VNP

According to Nguyen Van Hung, chairman of the people’s committee of Dai Ang commune, maintaining the traditional craft is a part of the orientation and plan of an “eco-tourism village” in the future. The commune will become a “satellite-tourism” product of Hanoi. 

Story: Thao Vy -  Photos: Tran Thanh Giang - Translated by Nguyen Tuoi