|Window on Hue / Handicraft village and product|
|Handicraft village and product|
Phu Cam conical hat village
The Hue city copper casting guild lies along the southern bank of the Perfume river, between Da Vien bridge and Long Tho, some 3km southwest of the city center. Under the Nguyen dynasty, the area was a bustling copper casting workplace responsible for providing essential goods to southern Vietnam and the Nguyen reign, including weapons, offering sets, and utensils. Today, five small, distinct communes (Giang Dinh, Giang Tien, Kinh Nhon, Ban Bo, and Truong Dong) in the area ply the craft. Of these, Kinh Nhon and Ban Bo are the two largest and most reputed copper casting villages. The father of the craft was reportedly Nguyen Van Luong, who came from the northern province of Bac Ninh and who hand down the craft to the descendants of the Nguyen family. The 14th generation of the Nguyen family is still a part of copper casting.
The guild now has more than 60 casting furnaces anf around 150 workers. Products range from the funereal (urns, statues, caskets, ect), to household appliances (flower vases, pots, pans) and fine handicrafts. The guild’s excellent artisans contributed to the imperial capital’s copper masterpieces like Dai Hong Mon at the Thien Mu pagoda, Cuu Vi Than Cong in front of the Hue city royal citadel, and especially the nine copper urns in Dai Noi that are considered an excellent work of art with 162 relief patterns. These are the striking achievements of Vietnam’s copper casting two centuries ago.
Thuan Loc embroidery village
Ke Mon jewelry
The craft is found in Phong Dien district’s Dien Mon commune, some 40km northeast of central Hue city. Locals once made jewelry from gold or silver for residents and mandarins in the imperial capital. Villages say jewelry was started here in late thirteen century by jewelers travelling southward. One of the best artisans by that time was Cao Dinh Do, who moved from Thanh Ho to settle down to his offspring and other villages. Ke Mon jewelry like bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces are famous for their high quality and sophisticated designs. Some local jewelers are now leaving for Hue city and other areas.
My Xuyen wood carving village
Thuan An fishing village
Besides these craft villages, Thua Thien Hue city is home to many other traditional craft villages with their traditional products, including Hien Luong forging village, Phuoc Tich pottery village, Sinh painting village, Chuon liquor and sticky rice cake village. Unfortunately, due to poor product designs and outdates technology that fail to meet demand, several craft villages and their products have lost their previous popularity, with only a handful of artisans carrying on their village craft.
Committed to helping these craft villages, Thua Thien Hue city province authorities are now development a plan to encourage local villagers to resurrect their craft villages with the help of modern production technology. Through their efforts, provincial authorities hope to bring more jobs and create stable income for local villagers, as well as to preserve traditional values, to create business opportunities and to encourage local tourism.