Catawba County News

Learn About Hmong Paj Ntaub

Learn About Hmong Paj Ntaub

Published: August 21, 2018

Traditional Hmong textiles are beautifully detailed, rich with color, and handcrafted to show off sewing skills. They often relate well-known stories and keep alive the traditions of a people who were historically forced to move from location to location, somewhat unmoored from a common homeland but culturally connected through passed-down skills like embroidery and sewing.

As with many practices handed down over generations, Hmong textile art (known as paj ntaub and pronounced ‘pan dau’) features a variety of familiar motifs, including stylized designs known as elephant feet, ram horns, and dragon tails. Mostly inspired by nature, these abstracted elements are frequently joined with more swirling and geometric patterns, typically in vibrant colors of pink, green, blue, and red.

If you’d like to learn more about the role these ‘flower cloths’ have played in Hmong culture, join us Tuesday, August 28 at 6 pm at the Southwest Branch Library. We’ll look at how the textiles’ visually distinctive, symbolic components have helped give Hmong people a sense of belonging and community. As we explore the art, we’ll discover how story cloths, cross-stitching, and craftsmanship all intertwine in a stunning display of living history and shared pride.