Papoose weaving craft of the Churu

(VOVworld) – A papoose is a carrying container used by a number of ethnic groups in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, including the Churu. The papoose reflects the Churu people’s culture and view of nature and life.
Papoose weaving craft of the Churu - ảnh 1
People of Kala hamlet, Bao Thuan commune, Di Linh district prepare Lo O strips to weave papooses (photo: Phan Nhan)

Churu men and women of all ages carry a papoose on their back to the market, the terraced fields, and the forest. It’s a practical way to transport bulky items on treacherous mountain paths. To the Churu, a papoose is more than just a container, it’s a work of art. They call it a “flower papoose” because it’s woven with flower patterns and images.

Papooses are constructed from rattan, bamboo, creepers, and tree bark. Papoose makers weave bamboo strips into flowery shapes around the body of each papoose. A completed papoose is hung above the kitchen for several days to keep its colors from fading.

Papoose weaving craft of the Churu - ảnh 2
Patriarch Ya Hiêng of Pré Ti-yong hamlet, Phu Hoi commune, Duc Trong district, Lam Dong province

Nguyen Van Duc, a tourist from Hanoi, wants to buy a Churu papoose. “Ethnic groups in the northern region weave plain papooses without decoration. The Churu papoose is beautifully woven and decorated. Vs or diamond shapes of contrasting colors make these papooses distinctive.”

Ma Ban of P’re hamlet, Lam Dong province, said in the past only the older Churu people could weave flower papooses. Now there are classes to teach the craft to younger people. “In the past few young people could weave flower papooses. Then the district organized papoose weaving classes. The older people teach the craft to younger villagers.”

Artisan Ya Hieng of Preh Tiyong hamlet, learned to weave papooses when he was about 8 years old. Over the past 60 years, he has regularly collected materials from the forest to make papooses. He said young people weave the bamboo containers to sell to earn a living while preserving the traditional craft. “I’ve always tried to preserve the craft because I’m afraid it will disappear. The state has organized weaving classes for young people to keep the craft alive.”

Flower papooses accompany the Churu to work and festive events such as weddings and worship ceremonies.