Saturday, August 9, 2014

» Home »

Plough Casting of the Mong Ethnic People

For a long time, the Mong people in Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang Province have preserved a technique of casting a special kind of plough that is suitable to rocky land.
With its great geological value, the plateau was officially recognized as a Global Geo-Park by the UNESCO Global Geo-parks Network (GGN) in 2010. It is the only certificate in Vietnam and the second in Southeast Asia.

Over the years, the plateau has been the home of ethnic groups, mainly the Mong people who survive by farming in rare plots scattered on rocky mountains. The image of the plateau is one of an immense, rugged, rocky, mountain area with a thin layer of land mixed with rock between mountain creeks. Therefore, it is very difficult for local people to farm. They cannot use the ploughs that are often used in the plains because the ploughs will break or become damaged by rocks.

Plough Casting of the Mong Ethnic People
Grinding clay to make the mould.

Mixing the rock and oak charcoal flour to coat the casting mould.

Making the mould smooth with a mixture of oak charcoal and rock flour.

The mould consists of two pieces made from clay mixed with charcoal flour and rock flour and it is placed on a wooden stand.

Grafting two pieces of the casting mould using a layer of clay.

To cast a plough, it requires about 7kg of pig iron.

Pouring the melting pig-iron into the mould.

After three minutes, the plough can be taken out of the mould.

At the market, each plough is sold for 350,000 VND.

To deal with this difficulty, the people in the plateau have built a special kind of plough that is suitable to the rocky land. During our stay in Sung La Hamlet (Sung La Commune, Dong Van District), we discovered that the technique on casting the special ploughs is now preserved by the Mua Family. The secret and experience in casting the firm and durable ploughs are handed down from generation to generation. At first glance, the technique of the casting of a plough of the Mua Family is not special but in fact, it consists of many interesting secrets. For example, besides the main material of pig-iron, they add other materials such as rock flour and charcoal from oak trees. Coal for firing the kiln is also from the oak tree. After completion, the ploughs are kept in ash instead of water like the traditional plough-casting method.

Thank to the special plough, Mong ethnic people can cultivate on the Dong Van Karst Plateau.

Thanks to these techniques, the Mong ethnic people have created their own ploughs that help them till on the rocky land. Despite harsh conditions, green corn and rice fields are seen on the plateau, promising to bring the local people in the border are of the country a good life.
By Viet Cuong

No comments :

Post a Comment