Ama Kong’s elephant hunting tools

(VOVworld) – Ama Kong was called the Elephant King of the Central Highlands. He caught and tamed 298 elephants. When he died at the age of 102 in 2012, his family donated much of his hunting equipment to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.

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Ama Kong, the Elephant King of the Central Highlands

The collection includes more than 20 items including rattan rods that elephant keepers use to control domesticated elephants, mattresses made of bark to support the howdah, coils of buffalo-leather rope and nooses, wooden hammers, bags made of wines, and the buffalo horn of the Elephant King.     

The museum screens videos of elephant hunts of the M’nong people which show off their courage, intelligence, and skill. Director of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology Vo Quang Trong calls the collection invaluable. "This is the first time the Museum has received a large collection donated by ethnic people in the Central Highlands. The items belonged to the famous ethnic man Ama Kong and were used in 298 elephant hunts. They represent the cultural values, customs, and lifestyle of the M’Nong."

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Coils of buffalo-leather rope have been used for more than 100 years

Ama Kong is the nickname of Y Prong Eban, the Elephant King of the Central Highlands. He gave elephants to the Kings of Thailand and Lao. He went elephant hunting with King Bao Dai. He captured a number of rare white elephants and one-tusk elephants.

Kham Phet Lao, Ama Kong’s 10th son, who lives in Ea Tu commune, Buon Ma Thuot city, says the hunting items are more than 100 years old. They haven’t been used since 1992, when wild animal hunting was prohibited. Kham Phet Lao said: "This is a treasure of our ancestors. We no longer use these items. We only display them in our house for visitors. My father is dead so we are giving them to the museum. If we kept them at home, our children might take some of them. The museum will preserve them for our descendants."

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The buffalo horn of the leader of the elephant hunting team

Kham Phet Lao says he still has 2 hunting tools of his ancestors in his 120-year-old stilt house in Krong Na commune, Buon Don district. These tools, which haven’t been used in a long time, are relics of the role elephants have played in the life and culture of the M’nong people and other ethnic minority groups in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.