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Bat trang Village

Bat Trang is an old, well established village in the Gia Lâm district of Hanoi. It is about 13 km from central Hanoi.

It is famous for producing a unique style of ceramics called Bat Trang Porcelain. Bát Tràng is well known throughout Vietnam for its beautiful ceramics.


Bat Trang porcelain and pottery is a type of ceramics made in the village of Bat Trang, in the suburban outskirts of the northern Vietnamese city of Hanoi. The village is located in an area rich in clay suitable for making fine ceramic. Bát Tràng ceramics are considered some of the best known porcelain products in Vietnam besides those of Chu Đau, Đang Nai, Phu Lang, and Ninh Thuan. During the past centuries, Bat Trang china products have travelled in European trading ships to all parts of the world.


Bat Trang, in the several past centuries, mainly made worshipping objects, then produced house-utensils, including bowls, plates, vases, cups and pots. The village has recently diversified its products, producing many items of fine art ceramics and high quality porcelain.


Bat Trang ceramics have also been shipped to many countries, such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, the US and EU member countries. Many ancient ceramics of Bat Trang are being kept in major museums in the world, such as the Royaux museum in Belgium and the Guimet museum in France.


Since 2002, Bat Trang artisans have promoted their co-operation in the Bat Trang Ceramics Association to boost production and marketing. The association helps Bat Trang people and ceramics businesses get information about the market, learn about new technology, trading ways and opportunities for their trade in order to raise their competitiveness.


The association has established a centre to promote its exports and is building the trademark of “Bat Trang Vietnam – a 1,000-year tradition”.


The Bat Trang village festival is held annually at the middle of the second month according to the lunar calendar, which usually lasts for seven days.


Dong Ho Village

Dong Ho village, formally called Mai village, belongs to the Song Ho commune, Thuan Thanh District, Bac Ninh province which is located along the southern bank of Duong River Dyke, 30 km to the East of Hanoi.


 Dong Ho village is famous for an old and special art form called Dong Ho. This art is attractive to the local and foreign people alike. Coming here visitors watch the artisan’s produce pictures using carved boards painted with various colors of ink.


Each family is a workshop. Because the picture is colorful and each color needs its own carved board, each family has many boards. Typically a single picture needs 5 or 6 boards. The artist draws the portion of the picture represented by one color on paper which is then glued to the board.  The board is then carved to leave only that portion of the picture.  The carving or sculpting is deep and strong.


The paper used to print the picture is potash paper which is made by a traditional technology. The main material is from the wild potash trees from the mountains nearby. Then it is polished by Diep, made from a small shell pounded, ground and cooked with rice white and splendid color.


The printing process follows a strict regimen: each carved wood stamp is painted with a color and pressed on the paper to form the picture. The colors are made from natural materials: black from the charcoal of dried bamboo branches and leaves, red from soil of the surrounding  hills and mountains, indigo from forest leaves, blue from verdigris, amber from turpentine, yellow from aniseed, orange from gardenia flowers, and glitter white from ground egg and sea shells. The colors and materials used in Dong Ho folk painting are very durable; they dim very little with time or sun light.


 Dong Ho pictures have many themes, some are used for worship, some tell old stories, some depict historical people and events, some show happy ambitions. Many of these pictures are highly valued and they are indispensable in Vietnamese houses during the Lunar New Year festival or “Tet Nguyen Dan” in Vietnamese. Visiting Dong Ho village during the 12th lunar month is especially interesting because you will be able to catch a glimpse of Dong Ho's past. On the 6th, 11th, 12th, 21st and 22nd days of the 12th lunar month, Dong Ho hosts a Tet market. Here, prominently displayed, you'll find the festive prints that made Dong Ho famous.


 Dong Ho paintings for Tet decoration often model animals that stand for each of the 12 years of the lunar zodiac. The fat, comfortable and happy mother pig among her offspring, the smiling buffalo, the imposing tiger or the alert mother hen are all expressions of the desire for a happy and comfortable life of the Vietnamese, past and present.


 As well as being decorative, these prints are designed to convey popular fables, social values or historical struggles. Some are both instructive and humorous. For example, "Mouse Wedding", depicts a fat cat demanding bribes of fish from a mouse bridal party.  “Catching coconuts” and “Teacher” depict old educational practices and “Jealousy scene” satirizes the polygamy system of old. Above all, the pictures of pigs with Ying and Yang circles on the bodies are the most famous.


 Dong Ho art is not as sophisticated as Japanese block printing, nor as splendid as Chinese woodblock prints. It reflects the Vietnamese traditional society and the simple ambitions of the people. It is homey, honest and pure like the soul of Vietnamese farmers.


Van Phuc Village

Van Phuc is situated on the bank of Nhue River, 10km from Hanoi on the southwest motorway. The village is in the centre of Ha Dong Town, Ha Tay Province, and the biggest silk production village in Vietnam. The sound of looms has filled Van Phuc for a thousand years, and is a touching sound to villagers when returning from far away.


The main road is surrounded by greenery and ponds, and colourful bolts of silk drying on the road. In fact, the village's fine silk, commonly known as Ha Dong Silk, has inspired many poets and composers to write about its beauty.



Visitors to the silk village in Van Phuc commune, Ha Tay province, are impressed at first sight. The village is busy with activity and one can hear the sound of power-looms in every home. The days of working strenuously with traditional, manual looms are past, and the village's weavers each operate three large power-looms using a small electric motor instead. Design of Ha Dong silk patterns has also been computerized, which has allowed designers to reduce work time from 20 days to a rapid 3 days per pattern.


Many families in the village have built their own shops at the top of the road to the village, along with eye-catching signs in both Vietnamese and English. Saleswomen are friendly and can speak a little English and French, which has been positively received by foreign visitors.


Given that each power-loom has generated one weaving job (not including supplementary jobs such as spinning, dyeing and yarn joining), the craft village can create more than 1,000 jobs each year.


"Although Vietnam invests billions of dong each year in every state textile enterprise, the efficiency they gain may fall behind the craft in Van Phuc. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 craftspeople in the village have worked hard to survive in the market-led economy and at the same time preserve the traditional occupation. However, the State has not yet given them much attention," said the Van Phuc Commune Party Secretary. This feeling may be shared in their craft villages struggling to sell their products throughout the country.


Non Nuoc Village

Location: is located in Hoa Hai Ward, Ngu Hanh Son District, Characteristics Perhaps no one comes to the Five Marble Mountains without visiting Non Nuoc Fine Arts Village, where nationwide and worldwide famous marble handicraft works are produced.


The Non Nuoc Fine Arts Village has a three or four-hundred-year history. This is affirmed by some steles which still remain at some ancient pagodas in the Quang Nam Province. Currently, there is a temple of the °Marble Fine Arts Founders° at the well-known spot of the Five Marble Mountains, and many ancestor anniversary activities take place largely in this village on the sixth day of the first lunar month every year. Many gardens of statues have their back to the mountains. So, the overall artistic spaces of these gardens are arranged skillfully thanks to the outside landscape.


Visitors will be very interested in and surprised by the artistic stone works exhibited here. Polished, petite and sophisticated statues are presented with both traditional and modern motives and taken to parts of the world by visitors.


Lifeless stone has become a lively thing with the human spirit through the craftsmen of the Non Nuoc Fine Arts Village. It is certain that this process takes place in many work stages, including extremely difficult ones. The happiness with the completed works, the admiration of connoisseurs and also the benefits from the job united the people of this fine arts village in their careers.

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This article written by Lanh Nguyen from Vietnam Heritage Travel

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This article was published on 2012/01/07