Papoose of the K’ho

Wednesday, November 02, 2016 - 17:47:08

(VOVworld) – The papoose is an indispensable item in the daily life of the K’ho and ethnic groups in the central highlands.  VOV introduces the craft of weaving papoose and its position in the life of the K’ho.

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Papooses of different sizes to store grains and other belongings

The K’ho live mainly on growing wet rice and other crops on mountain sides. The ancient K’ho created many kinds of farm tools such as axes, curved knives, crowbars, and containers of different shapes.

The papoose is the most popular container which is used in everyday life. Decorated with flowers, the papoose becomes a beautiful accessory of girls going to festivals. 

In order to have material to weave a nice and durable papoose, men go to the forest from June to July to cut rattan. At this time of the year, rattan trees grow at its best quality, which is neither too soft nor too tough. Rattan is dried in the sun for a week before being split into thin strips. It takes a lot of time to weave a rattan papoose with beautiful patterns on it.

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A K'ho man making papoose

A K’ho man, K’Bren, says: “It takes about a week to make a normal papoose. We may spend a month to weave a more beautiful papoose. Young people learn weaving from old people and many of them follow the trade. We have organized papoose weaving groups. We expect the administration will support us to revive our traditional craft.”

The K’ho have different kinds of papooses such as big papooses to keep up to 50kg of rice and papooses of different sizes to fetch water from the spring, carry wood from the forest, and bring food with them to the field. The papoose for festival is weaved with flowery images reflecting K’ho culture and the makers’ skills. The papoose is not simply a container but a belongings of women.

Folklorist Nguyen Truong says: “The papoose reflects the identities of the K’ho. They use it in their daily life, cultural events, and festivals. The papoose is sophisticatedly made to reflect their cultural values.”

The lives of the K’ho have changed to the better and they have motor vehicles to carry farm produces instead of the papoose. The K’ho has established papoose weaving groups at tourist sites to preserve and promote their old craft.