Long Thuong bronze casting village

Ngoc Anh
Chia sẻ

(VOVWORLD) - Located about 30 km from Hanoi, Long Thuong Village in Hung Yen Province is renowned for its bronze casting  products - tripod cauldrons, incense-burners and flower vases.

Long Thuong bronze casting village - ảnh 1Long Thuong village's bronze products. Photo: VOV

Khong Minh Khong, who was given the title of the Prince’s Teacher of the Ly Dynasty in the 12th century, is noted in history as the founder of the craft in the area. Thanks to the skills of bronze casting handed down through generations, the village’s bronze products are quality, and include worshipping items like incense-burners, tripod cauldrons, bells and statues. Long Thuong villagers casted a statute of Minh Khong and worship him in the communal house as the village’s tutelary God. Not as bustling or well-known as other bronze casting villages of Vietnam like Dai Bai or Ngu Xa village, Long Thuong is special.

“This craft has been passed down through many generations in my family. I started to learn the craft from my dad when I was only 10 years old. Almost every person in Long Thuong village knows the techniques of the casting process: Shaping – Casting – Cooling and Polishing. Shaping is the most difficult step in bronze casting. The artisan must be very skillful to create a statue that looks lively and has its own soul,” explained Duong Van Tap, a local bronze casting artisan.

Long Thuong bronze casting village - ảnh 2The process of bronze fusing. Photo: VOV 

Long Thuong village has shifted from mainly casting statues and drums to other worshipping items like candleholders, trays, incense burners, and flower vases. Duong Van Long, another bronze caster, said: “A craftsman should keep his great love and passion in order to create soulful bronze products with sophisticated flower patterns. Clay used for a mold should be mixed with rice hulls and mud before it’s ground into a new mixture.”

In each phase of bronze casting such as mixing materials, bronze fusing, or molding to make the surface of products smooth and shiny, casters have their own secrets and experiences. Among the bronze products of Long Thuong, worshipping statues are the most difficult to cast, according to Duong Viet Bach, a local craftsman.

“These are the products that I have put a lot of efforts into. Statues casted from brass in vintage colors are the most sought after. It often takes me around one week to create a statue which looks as old as 50 or 70 years thanks to advanced technologies in bronze casting,” said Bach.

Compared with other crafts, bronze casting is a harder and more strenuous which requires not only good health but also cleverness and skill. Despite the hard work, the local people in Long Thuong have never abandoned the craft,  according to Duong Van Vien.

“In addition to upholding our traditional values, young craftsmen like us are encouraged to further promote the trade amid increasing competition. But I think it’s the competition that pushes us to develop and better preserve this traditional of Long Thuong,” said Vien.

Long Thuong bronze casting village - ảnh 3Sophisticated worshipping statues made by Long Thuong artisans. Photo: VOV

Apart from promoting traditional techniques, the local producers have invested in machinery to improve productivity and they have also assigned specialized production  to each household. For example there are households that only make tripod cauldrons, or others only make incense-burners. Long Thuong’s bronze products have secured footholds in the domestic markets as the younger generations of local artisans are doing their best to promote the cultural quintessence of their predecessors.