The mat weaving village of Ca Hom - Ben Ba, Ham Tan commune, Tra Cu district, Tra Vinh province was formed in the last decades of the 19th century. From the place of self-production, self-consumption or gifting, and the product has a quality that surpasses other products of the same type, Ca Hom - Ben Ba mats have gradually become famous and become a commodity since the 1940s and are loved by many people. known from the 1960s to the present.
This is one of the traditional craft villages of Tra Vinh province, which has been passed down by generations of people for nearly 100 years. Each year, the mat village provides the market in the Mekong Delta with hundreds of thousands of pairs of mats with durability, beauty, and unique patterns.
Ca Hom mat - Ben Ba. Photo: Vu Lan- http://thegioidisan.vn
The birth of mat weaving in Ca Hom - Ben Ba in Ham Tan commune was learned by the women on the occasion of visiting relatives in Ca Mau, when they returned, they started making frames to stretch yarn, cut them into pieces, and dry them. Dry-weave the first mats a bit dry, then gradually become more pleasing to the eye, smoother to the touch, thanks to that, from the original rough mats through many generations of Ca Hom - Ben Ba mats, they have created a prestige prestige in the market of Southern provinces with more diverse types such as white mats, colored mats, printed mats, etc. Many artisans in the profession are known from near and far, such as Ms. Ngo Thi Pho, Ma Thi Dut, etc. Mat products of Ca Hom village - Ben Ba are mainly flower mats with 5 main colors: white, red, blue, yellow and purple. Images or patterns are often carefully selected by artists for each of their products, in accordance with the tastes of consumers.
Mat weaving in Ca Hom - Ben Ba has gradually been closed. Materials for weaving mats are grown by people in the commune on inefficient rice fields. The whole commune has over 35 hectares of land for growing strabismus and for every 1000 m2 of land for growing strabismus, about 120 pairs of large mats (2 x 1.6 meters in size) and 120 - 130 pairs of small sized mats (1 x 1.9 meters). . Ham Tan commune has established Ham Tan carpet co-operative to gather people together towards stable and sustainable production, improve product quality and market expansion, and build the brand of Ca Hom mat village. - Ben Ba to consumers everywhere.
The advantage of flower mats in Ca Hom mat village - Ben Ba after using for 4-5 years, but still ensures that the mat does not shed, fade and become brittle. The flower mats here are shown in 5 main colors: white, red, blue, yellow and purple. Images or patterns are often carefully selected by artisans for each of their products, in accordance with the tastes of consumers.
Bamboo mat weaving – Photo: https://langngheviet.com.vn/
The first stage to make a mat is to find the raw materials of the strabismus for a very old age, then choose the length of the strabismus to suit the size of the mat to be woven. Strawberries are graded and then washed, then sharpened with a very sharp and small blade. This work requires many participants to ensure a large amount of strabismus weaving for many days. Each stalk after being plucked is dried, it will be about the size of an incense stick. If making flower mats, the stage of using boiling water to boil the stalks must ensure the heat of the colored water, the fire is too big or too small, it will easily make the strabismus to be cooked or not absorb the color.
Strawberries are sharpened and carefully selected before mixing. The drying stage after color treatment is sun-dried by artisans in Ham Tan - Tra Cu for weaving flower mats. Photo: https://langngheviet.com.vn/
Ca Hom mats - Ben Ba have a higher price than Ca Mau mats of the same type but still not enough to sell. In the two hamlets of Ca Hom, Ben Ba, every house has a couple of looms, bustling with full capacity, day and night. By the 1970s, the overwhelming appearance of nylon mats in the market made the traditional Ca Hom - Ben Ba mat village very competitive.
In the 1990s, the mat weaving village of Ca Hom-Ben Ba could be said to have almost reached the brink of extinction. The reason is that because the villagers are not active in the source of raw materials, the mat products are not innovative in terms of design, so they are not competitive enough in the market. Unable to live with the profession, hundreds of workers abandoned their looms and went far away from the country to make a living with other occupations. The person who has the merit of bringing the mat weaving village of Ca Hom-Ben Ba from the dying place to eating and making a profit is Mrs. Ngo Thi Pho, a Khmer ethnic weaver who is adept in the profession. While many workers have quit their jobs, Ms. Ngo Thi Pho is still attached to the loom. Raw mats, white mats that are often not accepted by the market are woven with flowers and beautiful colors to meet the requirements and preferences of consumers. With that in mind, she designed patterns, color schemes, and then tried to weave two-sided flower mats.
Artist Ngo Thi Pho. Photo: Vu Lan- http://thegioidisan.vn
After many failed attempts, she finally succeeded. In 2000, Mrs. Pho's double-sided flower mat, when offered for sale in the commune market, immediately captured the tastes of consumers. Since then, more and more people have come to order for her to weave flower evening gowns, with Chinese characters, Khmer characters... Most unique is that she designed, mixed colors, and made double-sided mats with pictures of pagodas and towers. gold in Cambodia, favored by many Khmer people in the South and Cambodia.
In 2001, with the desire to rebuild the craft village and help many poor Khmer households get jobs, the People's Committee of Ham Tan commune built a project to support the funding of weaving looms for 40 households. poor and asked Mrs. Pho to teach her double-sided floristry. She accepted without a moment's hesitation and devoted herself to teaching her "secrets". The mat weaving village of Ca Hom-Ben Ba has gradually been revived since then. Now there are more than 200 households specializing in mat weaving and over 600 indirect workers in the following stages: planting paving, preliminary processing. ingredients, coloring…
This traditional mat village covers the two hamlets of Ca Hom and Ben Ba of Ham Giang commune, Tra Cu district, with nearly 500 looms, handling about thousands of regular idle workers. That's not to mention a large army providing necessary services for mat making from planting and harvesting slices, splitting, drying, transporting, dyeing slices to selling to the market.
On the occasion of the Lunar New Year is the time when the mat weaving village of Ca Hom - Ben Ba is the busiest of the year. Besides the daily woven white mats, artisans focus on making many flower mats (also known as colored mats) to serve the Tet market. On average, a family of 2 people weaves 1 pair of flower mats (size 2m x 1.6m). Nearly 500 looms, each day Ca Hom mat village - Ben Ba put into the market 1,000 - 1,200 pairs of mats, earning hundreds of millions of dong. However, the difficulty of the profession is that sometimes products are sold slowly, production is delayed, people's lives face many difficulties, rainy months, raw materials cannot be exposed, plus purchasing power. The market also slows down, causing Ca Hom - Ben Ba mat villages to hang frames and stop working.
Currently, the craft village has 37 hectares of land for growing strabismus with 450 households weaving mats. Among nearly 400 households living with traditional mat weaving, 80% of households doing this profession are Khmer people. Ca Hom mat village - Ben Ba, in addition to providing jobs for households directly engaged in the profession, also indirectly provides employment for more than 1,500 workers in the following stages: planting strabismus, preliminary processing of raw materials, textile processing and product consumption. . Each year, the Ca Hom - Ben Ba mat village provides around 150,000 pairs of mats to the market.
The mat weaving work of the people here takes place regularly, some people take mat weaving as their main occupation, and some people do it in their spare time. However, at present, the area of agricultural land of the commune, including land for strabismus cultivation, is gradually shrinking due to the speed of development of industrial, tourist and commercial zones. Many services and industries attract workers with better incomes. The village weavers are facing a difficult choice, the number of artisans who know the secret of dyeing and weaving traditional mats is getting older over time, so the Ca Hom - Ben Ba mat village is in danger of disappearing. high. Therefore, it is necessary to have a solution to preserve and promote rationally, and to have plans and plans to continue investing to restore the traditional mat weaving in Ca Hom - Ben Ba to continue to maintain and develop.