Local economy

The Craft of Casting Bronze in Tong Xa

 For over 900 years, bronze casting in Tong Xa Village, Yen Xa Commune in the district of Y Yen in Nam Dinh Province has been preserved and strongly developed, bringing a good life to the local people.

By the end of the 12th century, Nguyen Minh Khong who is considered the ancestor of bronze casting settled in Tong Xa to reclaim new lands and taught the local people the craft to help them earn their living. 

Bronze casting has existed for nearly 900 years in Tong Xa Village.

The craftsman in Tong Xa Village make mould of the statute before casting.

Pouring the bronze liquid into moulds.

Carving bronze products.

Skillful hands make sophisticated carvings on product.

Thanks to the secrets handed down by their ancestors together with their skillfulness, creativeness and the application of advanced technology, the local people have not only preserved but also strongly developed their traditional craft. Previously, they only cast household items and worshipping objects in small sizes, namely Buddhist statues, incense burners, basins and pots. However, they now make various kinds of products in large sizes that require high skills and techniques. In recent years, the artisans in Tong Xa Village and its neighbouring village, Van Diem, cast successfully several grandiose bronze monuments and statues. They are the Monument of Dien Bien Phu Victory, 16.2m in height and 220kg in weight located in Dien Bien and the statue of King Ly Thai To, 10.1m in height and 45 tonnes in weight in Hanoi. There are also the statue of The Great Buddha, 35 tonnes in weight on Non Nuoc Mountain, Soc Son Province, and three statues of Buddha, weighing 50 tonnes in Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh Province.

Besides large monuments and statues ordered by customers, the villagers also make traditional items, including incense burners, bronze urns, statues of sacred animals, statues of famous people and statues of leaders in small and medium sizes. The statues of celebrities and leaders of the country made by Ngu Xa artisans are rendered beautifully thanks to painstaking care using delicate strokes.

To make high quality products, the villagers combine traditional techniques and secrets of modern technology. Therefore, the village’s products have gained prestige in the market.

Statue of President Ho Chinh Minh

A bronze urn.

Patterns on a bronze drum.

A statue of rhinoceros made from bronze.

A shop selling Tong Xa bronze products in Lam Town.

Visiting the village, one will see with his own eyes the bustling life in the 900-year-old craft village. Along the main road in the centre of Lam Town in Yen Xa Commune are a series of shops selling Tong Xa products, which are always full of customers. The products are not only sold to local people, but also to other provinces nationwide and exported to foreign countries.

In the village, there are now about 150 workshops producing bronze fine arts items, providing jobs for over 1,500 people, each earning 3 - 4 million VND/month. Sales from the whole village reaches over 600 billion VND/year.
Apart from small scale establishments, many private enterprises with large scale production, such as Tan Tien, Quang Ha, Duong Ba Phong and Duong Ba Tan, were established, making a great contribution to shifting the traditional and small scale production into an industrial and modern direction, expanding production, increasing productivity and improving the quality of the village’s products.

To meet the demand of the domestic and foreign markets, a mechanical casting area was established in Lam Town in the district that involves the participation of many households. At present, both the villagers and private enterprises have invested in machines, expanded markets and sought new partners. It is a sound direction, promising a bright prospect for bronze casting in Tong Xa and making a contribution to developing the local economy.
Story: Thuc Hien - Photo: Trinh Van Bo

Story: Thuc Hien - Photo: Trinh Van Bo