27/04/2019 10:15 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Gold-laminating, an old craft in Kieu Ky

Kieu Ky village in Gia Lam district, Hanoi is known for its gold-laminating. The village’s products, including gilded Buddha statues, horizontal lacquered boards and parallel sentences, are present in historical relics and temples nationwide.
The craft was believed to be founded in the 17th century by Nguyen Quy Tri from Kieu Ky village, who then passed it down to his fellow villagers. To show their gratitude to the ancestor of the craft, Kieu Ky people built a temple dedicated to Nguyen Quy Tri.

Visiting Kieu Ky, one can hear the clanking sounds of hammers. We dropped by the house of artisan Le Van Vong, whose family has been laminating gold for nine generations. In his 70s, Vong is still dedicated to the village’s traditional craft.


Artisan Le Van Vong's workshop in Kieu Ky commune. 


Many households in Kieu Ky are involved in the craft. 


The artisan must be very careful to place gold leaves between Quy sheets.



The final thin gold leaves are called Quy gold. 


Depending on the type of products, Kieu Ky craftspeople use the relevant glue to create adhesion. 


Gold-gilding stage. 


Products after gold-gilding stage.

 

The gold-making process consists of many different stages and requires complex skills.

First, gold or silver bullion will be beaten with a special hammer to about 1cm width which will later be cut into 1sq.cm. These gold leaves are placed in a holder called a dong leaf, which is made from do paper (rice paper pieces). Dong leaf is painted several times with a mixture of ink and buffalo hide-based glue to help make it solid.

Each set of these holders, consisting of 49 gold leaves, will be hammered as thin as possible. Artisans then cut each gold leaf into 16 smaller pieces and place them between Dong leaves and hammer them again. The final thin gold leaves are called Quy gold.

The gilding stage, when the product is to be handed over to customers, must be carried out in a closed room because even a gentle breath would be enough to blow the gold leaves away.
 

Gilded products made by the talented hands of Kieu Ky artisans









 

By Khanh Long
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