Laos Hmong hat embroidered traditional symbols
We are Hmong Lao people and our traditions are very important for us. The traditions keep us together and make us help each other in all times.
You can order these handmade products you help us to care for the 45 people who live currently at Kajsiab, learning new skills and teaching the old traditional skills.
By ordering our products you are helping us to empower the Kajsiab People and to save our traditions!
Traditionally, Hmong embroidery is used as a form of decoration on clothing to make it bright and beautiful. From a young age, Hmong girls learn how to sew and copy motifs from their mothers and grandmothers.
At the present time, many Hmong girls don’t have the time and/or opportunity to learn how to make paj ntaub as their elders once did. Many elders do not have time to teach these traditions to their grandchildren. For the reasons above, the Hmong art of making paj ntaub may be lost among future generations.
We at Kajsiab try to save the traditional knowledge by encouraging the women and girl to make embroideries in our Women’s Workplace and sell it in our shop.
In ancient times, the embroidered patterns served double duty — to decorate and to communicate. The women started sewing the symbols into their skirts to create messages, disguising them as patterns. Traditional Hmong embroidery used symbols to tell a story.
Most of the motifs that appear in traditional Hmong embroidery are inspired by nature and are associated with animals. A series of swirls facing each other, for example, is called “elephant foot” and generally is associated with “family.” There is also the “ram horn” pattern and tiny slits that symbolize “seeds.”
We are Hmong people from Laos living at the Kajsiab Shelter. In our Women’s Workoplace we make beautiful embroidered art work. We are very proud of our skills that we have learned from our mothers and grandmothers.
To make one piece of embroidery takes many days and many hours of patiently sitting together, sew and talk about life, while ate the same time watching our children and feed our babies.
When you buy our embroideries you help us and Project Kajsiab Laos and you also help to save our traditional skills for future generations.
All our symbols in our embroidery work have meaning.