Sedge mats of Định Yên, a national traditional heritage

August 05, 2023 - 09:53
Established nearly a century ago, the village is now a magnet for tourists, drawing in a plethora of visitors on an annual basis.
Mats and mat weaving have become the proud heritage of the people of Định Yên Village. -- VNA/VNS Photos Nhựt An

Định Yên Village, home to over 800 families making a living primarily from sedge mat weaving, is situated approximately 33km from the city of Sa Đéc, in the southern province of Đồng Tháp.

Established nearly a century ago, the village is now a magnet for tourists, drawing in a plethora of visitors on an annual basis. These visitors are captivated by the vibrant sedge bed mats for which the village is renowned.

While families in Định Yên Village maintain their handlooms, but most have used machinery to enhance both the quantity and quality of their products. VNA/VNS Photos Nhựt An

The principal material used in creating these mats is derived from sedge plants, which grow along the Hậu River and are also sourced from other provinces.

This time-honoured mat-weaving craft is passed down to the younger residents of the village, ensuring its continuation for future generations.

On visiting the village, one will witness both the young and elderly joyfully engaged in weaving mats, and visitors can't help but be entranced by the vibrant, beautifully patterned mats.

The household of Huỳnh Văn Chiến is one of the few families in Định Yên Village who continue to utilise handlooms, thus making his abode a popular stopover for tourists eager to learn about this traditional craft. -- VNA/VNS Photos Nhựt An

Currently, approximately 70 per cent of households in the village engage in weaving sedge mats.

Each household possesses one or two weaving looms, yet nowadays, the majority of them use mechanical looms to enhance product outputs, improve quality, and save time, although the intricate details on the mats are still exclusively handcrafted.

The creation of these products involves numerous meticulous and careful stages, from the selection of materials to drying, dyeing, and finally weaving.

Định Yên Mat Weaving Village, where over 800 families make their living, is renowned for its mat weaving - a craft that has come to symbolise the traditions of this province. --VNA/VNS Photos Nhựt An

As per the village elders, mat weaving became a significant profession in Định Yên around the 1920s. The craft reached its zenith in the 1980s when the village's mats were exported to countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, and some countries in Eastern Europe.

At present, a wide variety of mats, boasting different designs and applications, are available. Despite this, the villagers of Định Yên remain committed to their craft, faithfully maintaining and preserving the traditional practice bestowed upon them by their forebears.

A villager of Định Yên dries sedge, the main material for weaving mats. VNA/VNS Photos Nhựt An

In recognition of its cultural significance, the village's craft was officially designated an intangible national heritage in 2013. VNS