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Photographer's Note

The making process of a conical hat is totally handicraft. The leaves used to cover the hat are taken from palm trees and bamboo. Then they are exposed to the dew for one night to soften them. When the leaves become dry but still soft they are flattened either by hand or by ironing. Only young leaves are selected. Old or dark ones are discarded. A hat usually consists of 16 to 18 rims made from a special kind of bamboo. In order to have a well-made hat, it must be knitted together with a peculiar kind of thread made from the leaves of a special kind of reed. Finally, the hat is trimmed and painted with a coat of attar oil to keep it clean and smooth.
The skill of the craftsman (who in this case is more likely a woman) can be judged by the regularity of the leaves arranged on the hat. The roundness of the rim and particularly the fineness of the stitches which must be so done as to reveal no knot.
Although the conical hat is no longer the cities women's everyday costume, it remains the ubiquitous headwear in the countryside. And a young girl with her conical hat, quite charming in her four-flapped long dress (called AO DAI in Vietnamese), is always a popular image of Vietnam and the Vietnamese people.

Note: Some of the information noted above are cited from the webpage "www.vietnam-culture.com"

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