Alex | Benjamin
| Mariah | Izzy S.
| Gabby | Cristina |
Abigail | Nico
| Mark | Izzy S. | Dylan
| Martha | Jenny
| Abigail | Izzy S.
We went to the Kohler Art Center on our quest
for Hmong culture.
When we arrived at the Art Center, we were
greeted by a wonderful lady named Lisa. She told us that 20
years ago, they had started an exhibit on Hmong art at a festival.
That is what got Mr. Wagler (our teacher) interested in Hmong
While we walked through the Kohler Art
Center we saw a shoe display. The shoe I remember the most
was the shoe with the alligator head in place of the toe.
When we got to the back of the Center we looked at a whole
lot of Hmong objects. A Hmong lady named Paulina and her two
aunts showed us her Hmong objects that we actually got to
touch and hold. We held a ball that is used in the ball toss
game, a picture of some people in Laos, and a thing that is
used to carry babies.
There was a baby carrier and Paulina
demonstrated how to put it on. The strap goes over the mother’s
shoulders, under the baby’s arms and then supports its
behind. In Laos the mothers carried their babies everywhere
There was also a baby hat that is supposed
to protect the baby from the sun when the parents are working
out in the fields. There was a New Years hat for a baby.
The hats women wear have colors that are
bright and have many Hmong coins hanging off the hat so it’s
touching your head. When I put one on its really up to my
eyes so I can’t really see.
The clothes Hmong boys wear mostly black or white. It depends
what kind of Hmong you are. If you’re green Hmong, you
wear green sleeves. If you’re striped, you wear striped
sleeves. It goes on and on.
We saw an incredibly strange story
cloth that had words instead of pictures. Not a picture in
There was a story cloth that ended in
“and.” I wonder why it ended in an and. Maybe
so it would let you finish the story or maybe it is continued
someplace else or even maybe some sort of a tradition.
Story cloths are “quilts”
that tell stories. The Hmong quilts are called paj ntaubs
(pandaus). It means storycloths. Story cloths are made by
hand by Hmong womans. It’s very hard to make a story
cloth by yourself. You need lots of help from elders.
Storycloths were the only way of passing
on stories non-orally. Because there was no Hmong alphabet.
They invented one in the 1900s.
Storycloths are a piece of needlework
that tell a story through characters sewed onto cloth. We
saw lots of storycloths on our tour. The largest was at the
Hmong American Friendship Building. At the center in Green
Bay, we saw a story cloth about the Hmong and Americans fighting
the Vietnamese. At the Kohler Arts Center there was a story
cloth about the ball toss game.
The most common border on a storycloth
is the mountain pattern. It can be blue or purple, and the
pattern is made by forming light and dark triangles. Another
word for storycloth is paj ntaub (pandau).
The lady that was in charge of the exhibit
told us that this “paj ntaub” has glittery parts
because it was just a design and it was supposed to interest
people. There is one that is needleworked by Black Hmong and
it was a cross-stitch of a baby carriage.
At the end of seeing the exhibit,
they led us to a long table covered with things we could touch.
I quickly became attached to a bucket of thread. Not just
any thread! The softest thread you ever felt!
It’s a shame how much culture is
lost because of the war...