Top Stripped Cap of Maonan Ethnic Group

The Maonan people have all kinds of famous handicrafts, such as knitting and dying, silverware making, woodcarving, stone carving and bamboo article making. But the most famous one is the colored bamboo hat woven with thin bamboo strips called “Top Stripped Cap”. A colored bamboo hat is divided into inner and outer layers, with a diameter of 60cm. The golden bamboo and black bamboo of their local specialty are used as the weaving materials. The black bamboo is pitch-dark and glossy, while the gold bamboo is glittering.

After autumn, the bamboo is cut off into thin strips. They can be as thin as paper. The bamboo strips have to be soaked for a whole night, then pulled out and dried for future use. While weaving a cap, the weaver will first put the hat rack before his knee. The diameter of the hat rack keeps the same with that of the bamboo hat, shaped like an umbrella and able to rotate. The weaver shall arrange the top layer first, and then the inner layer. The top layer mainly has 15 thin bamboo strips. The ends of each strip are further divided into 24 thinner bamboo strips.

In total, there are 720 divided strips, which are as thin as the hair. By weaving 60 to 80 horizontal bars alternatively from head to foot, it is dense with no leak. On arranging the inner layer, the top layer mainly has 12 thin bamboo strips. The ends of each strip are divided into 15 fens, 360 divided strips in total. Then the weaver adds 60 to 80 horizontal bars alternatively from head to foot. After weaving two layers, the weaver put a piece of tissue paper on the inner layer, colored cloth on the paper, and dark blue cloth on the colored cloth.

Then buckle the top layer on, to make two layers unified. Tighten and sew the hat brim by continuing to use the thin bamboo strips. Because the top of the top layer is slightly sharp in shape, in case of being worn out, the weaver shall break some thick goose feathers, and have them attached on the top, which makes the cap attractive and more durable.