Hmong Needlework up close

The area where the needlework happens

2nd drawing of Paj Ndou by Zoe

A drawing of Paj Ndou by Zoe

Concentric design in Hmong colors of green and red.

Traditional Hmong clothing decorated by precise needlework

Musicians in Hmong decorated clothing describe their instruments


Bayview Needlework
Madison, WI

Zoe | Nick | Emma | Juan Pablo | Marcus | Delia | Dylan

The k'eng and singers wore paj ndou on their clothing, most of which had silver coins. The singers also wore colored fabric dresses and huge necklaces. --Zoe

I saw a lot of paj ntaub. There was one paj ntaub that was green and red. First, I thought that it was the symbol of Christmas...but then I learned it was traditional Hmong colors! --Nick

We went to the needle working place. The women hand made stockings, glass cases, ornaments, table cloths, bookmarks, story cloths, cats, blankets, and necklaces. --Emma

What I learned about the Hmong culture is that to not forget the stories, they would put them in a drawing.--Juan Pablo

I bought a necklace at the needle work shop. She said if I wore it, it would not let the bad spirits come to me. --Marcus

For instance, a woman a Bayview was telling about the needlework, called pandau. The first thing she showed us was a wall hanging. She said it was a saltwater pond where every 2 moons animals drank out of it, and her grandpa went and hunted there. She learned at the age of 4 or 5. --Delia

When they [Hmong women] were in the refugee camps in Thailand, they had nothing to do, so they started making quilts about how the Vietnamese forced them out of their homes. They put the designs and people in special zig zag order, that tells a story or something special. --Delia

Hmong believe if you wear the necklaces (?) then your soul will stay in you and not wander off. --Delia

Sometimes in the needlework they use symbols that they know are important, but they don't know what the symbols mean anymore. --Dylan

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This page last updated on December 16, 2003