14/07/2011 15:33 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

The Bronze-Casting Village of Phuoc Kieu

For a long time, the local people in Quang Nam Province have had a saying “Lam Yen drums and Phuoc Kieu gongs” to praise the traditional craft of casting gongs and bronze products of Phuoc Kieu Village.

 

Phuoc Kieu Village is located near Highway 1A in Dien Phuong Commune, Dien Ban District, Quang Nam Province. According to records, the village was built during the period when the Nguyen lords arrived in the Thuan and Quang areas to establish their bases in the 16th century. At that time, artisans in Phuoc Kieu Village were invited to the imperial capital of Hue to cast coins, decorative artworks and household articles.
At present, the village has about 100 bronze-casting establishments, making various products such as pagoda bells, worshipping objects, gongs, urns and other artworks. Artisans in the village are famous nationwide for the technique of casting gongs.
According to the village elders, for over 200 years the gongs cast by the villagers have been used by ethnic groups in mountainous areas in Truong Son Mountain Range and Tay Nguyen (the Central Highlands) and even by neighboring countries, such as Laos and Cambodia. Today, the ethnic groups in Tay Nguyen still go to the village to order the best sets of gongs despite the difficulties in getting there.
 

Making bronze casting moulds.

Bronze canons made by Phuoc Kieu villagers.


Delicate patterns on bronze products by Phuoc Kieu villagers.

Tran Van Phung is an expert in making gongs in Phuoc Kieu Village.

Recently, artisans in the village successfully cast two bronze cannons similar to the ones used during the Nguyen Dynasty. Each cannon is 100kg in weight, 1.2 m in length and 25cm in diameter. Recently, artisan Duong Ngoc Sang who has engaged in the craft for over 70 years, has been given the title “The Folk Artisan” by the State. He is considered a “living treasure” of the village because of his expertise in adjusting the sound of gongs.
At present, the villagers in Phuoc Kieu not only make traditional bronze products, such as gongs, bells, urns, etc., but also many artworks for interior decoration and tourism. To further develop the craft and meet the increasing demand of the market, Phuoc Kieu Company Ltd., is making diverse products with unique designs that combine both the traditional and modern style.
Thanks to high quality and durability, Phuoc Kieu bronze products are much sought after by customers and are being exported to foreign markets.
By Thong Thien – Hoang Giap