Contents of this unit:
1. Womenís Sashes (information sheet)
2. Womenís Headdress (information sheet)
3. Da chaw (information sheet)
4. Hmong Clothing (information sheet)
5. Womenís Breastplate (information sheet)
6. Hmong Womenís Headdress (photos)
7. Traditional Hmong Clothes (photos)
8. 2 Sashes (green and pink)
9. Womenís Headdress (item)
10. Womenís Breastplate (item)
11. Shee cheng (item)
12. Dabtshos (pronounced da chaw) (item)
13. Menís Sash (information sheet)
14. Menís Hat (information sheet)
15. Silver Jewelry (photos)
16. Weaving with Hemp (photo)
17. Hmong-American Clothing (photo)
In this unit, students will:
understand that traditional Hmong clothing styles vary depending on what country they live in, migration patterns, and whether they are White, Blue, or Striped Hmong;
know that special clothing is prepared for the Hmong New Year;
understand that cloth for clothing originally was hand woven from Hemp but today the fabric is usually purchased;
understand that in Laos, many Hmong women now wear Thai and Lao dresses for everyday use because they are cheaper and more comfortable to wear;
identify the traditional manís hat or cumaw as black with a pink knot on top;
understand that many Hmong have spiritual beliefs about a personís soul that involves the head;
know that Hmong men often wear a pink sash called a shee that is tied in front;
know that White Hmong women traditionally wore green and pink sashes called hla shee;
understand that in the U.S., it is acceptable to "mix and match" clothing from Blue,White, and Striped Hmong groups;
identify the dabtshos that is worn on the neckline in the back of a Hmong womanís traditional clothing;
understand that intricately sewn dabtshos can help a Hmong girl attract a husband by showing off her motherís sewing skills;
understand that dabtshos designs vary depending on the age and status of the girl and if she is White or Blue Hmong;
identify the so or womanís breastplate and understand that it is an intricate part of her traditional clothing;
know that the breastplate is traditionally made from silver bars and shows the wealth and prestige of a man's or womanís family;
identify the jewelry styles that were worn before and after French rule in Laos.
The dabtshos (pronounced da chaw) is a decorative panel worn in the back of a Hmong woman's traditional blouse. It is attached to the neckline of the blouse and hangs down. The top half of the dabtshos (da chaw) is generally made from the same fabric as the blouse. The bottom half is decorated with embroidery, applique, or cross stitch. The rectangular panel is bordered with brightly colored fabric.
The dabtshos (da chaw) plays an important role in the Hmong culture. It is a required part of the woman's traditional clothing. If a woman does not wear her dabtshos (da chaw) at New Years, other people would think it very strange. In fact, during the Hmong New Year celebration, girls and women wear the most intricate dabtshos that they own.
The needlework on the dabtshos is used as a way for a young woman to attract a husband. If she is wearing a beautifully decorated panel that shows off her mother's sewing skills, many boys will want to be her partner in the ball toss.
The patterns that embellish the White Hmong and Blue Hmong dabtshos are different. Dabtshos are also different depending on the age and status of the girl. The easiest way to decorate a dabtshos is by using cross stitch. This type of dabtshos is usually worn by young girls. They are sometimes made by the girl's older sister, who is still practicing her needlework skills. Dabtshos made with cross stitch are not suitable for older girls or women to wear for the New Year. They wear fancier panels with intricate applique or embroidery designs.
When a woman dies, she is buried with a special dabtshos called a dabtshos laus (pronounced da chaw lao). It has a different design and is much larger than a dabtshos that is worn as part of her traditional clothing. It is customary for the woman's daughter or daughter-in-law to make a dabtshos lao for her while she is still alive. This beautifully embroidered cloth is made in her honor to wear in the afterlife.
Sources: Khou Thao, Joe Bee Xiong, Touly Xiong, Ken Her