Last update: 14:58 | 04/10/2018
A Raglai ethnic artisan in the central province of Khanh Hoa is making efforts to preserve his group’s traditional crafts of weaving papooses and creating crossbows and chapi (a musical instrument), which has largely been fallen into oblivion.
Artisan Mau Hong Thai, residing in To Hap town, Khanh Hoa’s Khanh Son district, has made it his life-time job, crafting papooses (a popular baby carrier for many ethnic people across Vietnam), crossbows, and chapi musical tool, for the daily use of local residents.
The mountainous district of Khanh Son has been well-known for its papoose weaving and traditional musical instrument making for years. For Raglai people, paoooses and chapi have become their close friends over many generations.
“If Raglai people do not maintain the crossbow or chapi craftmanship, Raglai identity will be lost,”Thai said.
Despite the age and challenges, the artisan has established classes to pass down the skills for young people, aiming to preserve the trade for the locality.
“I am ready to teach others, even if only a group of four or five students,” he said.
The artisan has become famous in the region thanks to his dedication, passion and his products, with designs that strike the eye and a durable quality.
According to Thai, to obtain a papoose or crossbow with good quality, or a chapi with excellent sounds, a specific type of “lo o” (local bamboo) must be selected for the products.
“The most challenging thing is the shortage of “lo o” due to exploitation. I have to work hard to earn enough money to buy the suitable “lo o”, Thai said.
The artisan tosses and turns all night thinking of how to enhance understanding of the importance of preserving the traditional Raglai crafts.
He expressed his delight that now many local people are doing the same as him to carry on with the traditional cultures and craftsmanship.
Thai wishes the crafts will not only be preserved them amongst local people, but also introduced to visitors.
Artisan Mau Hong Thai
Raglai people carry their babies in papooses
The artisan is keen to teach young people the traditional craft