Van Phuc Silk Village
During their stay in Hanoi, most tourists insist on a trip to Van Phuc Silk Village, the famous silk village of Hanoi to contemplate the genuine traditional silk-making industry.
Van Phuc Silk Village is situated on the banks of Nhue Thi River, Nguyen Trai Road, near Ha Dong city, 8 km southwest of Ha Noi. It takes you only 30 minutes by motorbike to go there from the centre of Hanoi.
The village has been much well known for its traditional sericulture, weaving, and silk products. Tourists coming here are lured by various beautiful shirts, crafts, ties, dresses and many other things made of silk available in the village. What is special is that the silk is made by very simple looms, which is the genuinely traditional Vietnamese way of making silk.
For centuries, silk has always been considered an extreme luxury, on par with rhinoceros horn, ivory and precious handworks in Vietnam.
It has long been a universal byword of luxury, often worn by the richest, most powerful citizens.
Most visitors somehow have heard about the significant role of this kind of material in Vietnam, yet might wonder where the cradle of Viet silk is. The mentioned Van Phuc Silk Village is proud to be the origin of best silk and silk-making industry of Vietnam, which is attached to a long-lasting history of more than two thousand years.
Though passing by lots of ups and downs, during the recent years, the village’s craft has enjoyed revival due to a surging demand for silk in both the domestic and foreign markets.
Today, the fine and lustrous cloth that originates from the cocoon of the silkworm is more affordable for "ordinary" folk.
Furthermore, silk is currently enjoying a fashion renaissance, particularly since its many varieties can be made into a wide range of designs suitable for all facets of modern life. Should you intend to have a silk pair of formal clothes made, just come here and select your suitable materials, and professional tailors here will bring you satisfaction!
Like other visitors to the village, you will be surprised at this “silk shop town”, where almost all houses along the paths have been turned into shops selling silk products. Specifically, the village is now home to 1,280 households, 90% of whom are involved in silk production and business.
The village makes more than 2 million meters of silk per year. Yet, more than that, you are offered a good chance to explore the Vietnamese traditional industry of silk-making.
No tourists here are uncontested with the glisten of various silk products. They are always confronted with an initially bewildering array of silk products, from raw materials, to garments, and a myriad of silk accessories.
The local silk is known for its smooth and lightweight appearance, and qualities that enable it to be dyed more colors to suit a variety of skin tones.
In order to cater for the changing demands and tastes of customers, Van Phuc silk producers are expanding their silk and garment repertoire: traditional glossy, embroidered silks, double layers, wrinkled silks, and of course, more colors, hues and weights, for which they have invented new techniques in dying and thermo-processing the threads.
If you are going to buy something from Vietnam as gifts for those at home, silk and clothes made of silk are available around in the village for your choice. Though the days when Vietnam's silk was reserved for nobility are long gone, what would never change is the sense of romance and luxury imparted by silk, a luminous cloth type. With 2000 years of history behind them, the silk weavers of Van Phuc Silk village are still busy, weaving dreams.
With a view to reaching Van Phuc village, tourists should travel south west out of Ha Noi on Nguyen Trai Street until they reach the border of Ha Dong District. Then turn right and dive for about 3km. The village is on the left, some 8 km from central Hanoi. Motorbike, bus, or taxis are all of good use.
Bat Trang Ceramic Village
“I wish I could marry you/ I will buy Bat Trang bricks to build our house” are the beautiful folk words honoring Bat Trang ceramic & pottery quality, the pride of northern Vietnam
Bat Trang, a small village in the north of Vietnam, is about 13 kilometers south east of Hanoi center, on the other side of Chuong Duong Bridge.
Why is its name popular to most tourists to northern Vietnam? The answer is its ever famous ceramic and pottery products of high quality. If you have known about Vietnam, you may not be surprised that Bat Trang’s vases, bowls, dishes, and many other kinds of ceramic products have been exported worldwide. Should you would like to contemplate workers making ceramic products by hand, just come here! What’s more, you can also try it yourself!
Bat Trang village is said to be established in 14th or 15th century in several documents. However, according to the villagers, the village perhaps appeared earlier. There are always two stories concerning the village origin.
One of these tells that under Ly dynasty, in 1100, when the nation was in its independence and initial growth period, there were 3 scholars who came back from their mission trip to China bringing the ceramic craft industry learned there back to Vietnam and taught the people of Bat Trang.
In the other story, in the village history dates back to the 10th century, when King Ly Cong Uan relocated the capital in Thang Long. With the establishment and development of the capital, many businessmen, crafters from many areas come to settle down here to work and trade. In Bat Trang, there was a lot of white clay, so that many potters, among who was Nguyen Ninh Trang family, came and built the kilns here.
Accordingly, Bat Trang has gradually changed from a normal ceramic and pottery village into a famous ceramic and pottery centre until now.
As time went by, the village’s products have developed and become well known for the best quality, style and glaze, both inside and outside of the nation. Many of these are now customized for aristocratic families and religious needs. Its popular foreign markets are Japan (under the brand "Kochi (Giao Chi) ware"), the Netherlands, Britain, Portugal, Southeast Asia, etc.
To produce a complete product, one must follow 3 steps.
The first step is making the product frame. The artists select the suitable clay, treat it and start making a raw product. It must be repaired to get the best appearance.
Secondly, they decorate and cover it with glazes. Last but not least, the raw products are baked in 3 days and 3 nights. There are several kinds of kiln, yet the temperature must be at 12000 or 13000.
After baking, products are brought out, classified and repaired in case there are mistakes. And now we have the perfect product.
Bat Trang products are divided into 3 kinds based on the purpose of use.
Utilitarian wares: including plates, bowls, teacups, kettles, wine bottles, flowerpots, vases, jar… What differs is that they are thicker than Chinese ones.
Worshiping wares: comprise lamp stands, candle holders, incense burner, altar boxes, swords… These are valuable for collectors because of inscription of the production years, the names of the producers and the potters.
Decorative objects: house models, altars, statues and architectural fixtures.
The special trait is the diversified decorations on the products. Thanks to a long–lasting history and development, the village’s works have been accumulated with a lot of different special designs. One more thing that makes them distinguished is the glaze, which is of high quality and a variety of colors, such as blue, brown, white, moss green, in both breaking and melting glazes.
In fact, there have appeared a number of competitors both domestically and internationally who take advantages of high technology. Yet most customers prefer the craft products that contain historical and traditional values. Hence, it is no surprise at all that Bat Trang is still found in busy days and works.
More importantly, the village is now so popular that absorbs a huge annual number of tourists to visit and buy ceramic goods.
Ha Thai lacquer - a unique famous trade village in Hanoi
Traditional craft villages of Ha Thai lacquer lies the old highway 1A, near the Quan Ganh Bridge, turn left on inter-communal Duyen Thai, pass viaduct then come to village. Past, the village has called Cu Trang Giang, in 1870 renamed the Dong Thai village and early twentieth century it was officially named Ha Thai village.
Legend, Ha Thai paint job around the seventeenth century, then just paint job clarity. The land is not ancestral of Vietnam's paint job, but on Ha Thai painting ward was important because there are many talented craftsmen, skilled and creative.
Of the early 30th of previous century, the first painter Vietnam in the school of Fine Arts of Indochina was discovered explore other color materials such as eggs shell, snails, bamboo splint ... and especially bring technique grind, create a unique lacquer technique for creating lacquer paintings actually.
The term lacquer and lacquer appeared since then. Lacquer color using traditional materials like black lacquer, yellow brown lacquer make adhesive matter, and other types of lipstick, silver steel, gold, steel, pearl shell ...
When new born, lacquer had only three colors: black paint, red lacquer and yellow brown paint. Thanks to explore the creative process of many artists, the palette of lacquer is now richer. Splendid colors of lacquer, but loving, visible many layer.
Lacquer products with elegant shape, the charming shapes ethnic shades such as banyan tree & river wharf, ferry-boat with baboon, Halong bay, one pillar pagoda... It is often noted that lacquer is the point "nonsensical": want to make dry drawings has just painted; drawings must be incubated in airtight cabinets and high humidity. Want to see the paintings that abrasion to see.
Nowadays, people have built successful industrial paints can replace traditional types of lacquer, so many advantages, especially in production easier and color paintings are extremely rich.
Lacquer job have very elaborately, many stages. Each stage requires a professional to do it patiently, meticulously, take a loving care this job, if not; the complete product will not see a soul anywhere.
It can be said lacquer technology only general principles, but differ in experience and techniques of each individual, each family, as it was making technical changes suitable paintings different create statue, different from decorative objects, paint cover golden age ... Technology can be described by a lacquer of the following main stages: bundle of cuttings build, decorate, grinding and polishing.
Create basic shape (objects to paint) used to be on the trowel to use Ba paper, this paper made from Do wood that should very tough, durable firmly more fabric.
A method to create basic shape was conducted following: used alluvial soil (today workers can use the stone powder) mixed with finely painted with Ban paper then fill in slit of wood. Each class paint line a layer paper (or material for mosquito-nets), then mortise chisel gills to set the paint for horizontal wood hem after wood against vertical cracks of fabric.
Then, wood dried paint covered both the front, back. This stage is mainly to protect the body panels cannot waterproof, no termite, and environment dependent shrinkage of wood. Process more carefully, the longer the life expectancy for things to paint, each lacquer has life-span about 300 to 400 year.
When there was the framework above (or model touch as flower vases, natural picture and other things), who manufacture the items glue, paste coloring materials for the work first such as eggshell , pieces of pearl, gold, silver ... then later painted surface grinding, followed by using color.
With the technical coatings paint statue and furniture like: incense, horizontal lacquered board, parallel sentences ... workers do in the closed room and gather around the screen to prevent windblown material: yellow anemone, anemone silver, avoid dust paint is still wet.
Because shining oil has colored to draw, it remains submerged in the gloss color forming deep level of paintings, so after each drawing must be grinding. The ancients used dried banana leaf as draft paper.
Until now, the last method shine paintings nothing has replaced manual methods, because this type of paintings is not allowed the varnish. That is the unique point of lacquer. The success of a lacquer painting depends greatly on the final stages. There are some things to grinding and polishing as Xoan wood grilled, hair disorder, chicken liver stones.
To get the color of fresh products, a special stage is crucial phase of the paint. Each family, each facility has a separate paint mixing secrets, create your own style. Experience mix paint in traditional painting methods now gives way to technical preparations for modern painting.
There have been a few changes to reduce excess movements, creating new paint gloss, and durable, beautiful. Overall, the mixing paints have especially important role, determining the success or failure of the product. So we paint mixing stage before as now, still requires an experienced painter to paint from cooking paint stage, thick painted , to try to cooked paint stages. Whether any stage also requires workers to be patient, scrupulous
In both traditional festival held in May 6 / 2009 in Hue, Ha Thai lacquer is one of 12 villages in the country known as Chu Dau pottery, Bat Trang, Tho Ha (North region), Bau Truc ( Ninh Thuan), Go (Binh Thuan), Binh Duong Ceramics, Pottery Quang Nam, Phuoc Tich pottery (Thua Thien Hue province), Binh Duong pottery, Quang Nam pottery ,Phuoc Tich pottery (Hue), Binh Duong lacquer: Gallery of Ha Thai lacquer has attracted large crowds of visitors, especially foreign tourists.
Lacquer products of Ha Thai trade villages have very nice area on the furniture of the trade Center construction materials and equipment furnished Melinh Plaza. This is where the foreign guests on the way to the airport can visit the shop and the Ha Thai lacquer products.
If you have a chance to visit Hanoi, take a little time to visit Ha Thai trade village to get a firsthand look at how the workers here blow soul in this art lacquer.
Travel tip shared by Lanh Nguyen