On the outskirts of Hanoi, there are several handicraft villages worth visiting, some of which are world renowned for their arts. Hanoi Tour Operator offers daily tours to traditional handicraft villages which you should not miss during your holiday in Hanoi such as Bat Trang ceramic village, Van Phuc silk village, Dong Ky wood carving village, So noodle village and Ha Thai lacquer ware village.
Pick you up from your hotel and depart for our first famous ceramic village of Bat Trang which is located along the banks of the Red River. Bat Trang is definitely Vietnam's most famous ceramic village. Ancestors of today’s ceramic artisans began their craft in world famous Bat Trang during the Ly Dynasty some 10 centuries ago. Local artisans are renowned the world over for ceramic arts and have won many international awards. This is a very good chance for you to witness these artisans at work as we roam down narrow alleys into shops where you’ll be able to buy their refined ceramics at unbelievable prices.
After visiting Bat Trang Ceramic Village, we drive about 30 minutes to Dong Ky wood carving village. Originally, carpentry was a side hobby for the inhabitants of DongKy. However, poverty forced the villagers to concentrate their skills on this occupation. The some 12,000 residents now prosper from their trade with the increasing demand from hotels, restaurants, and exporters for their quality, hand carved furniture and crafts. The wood work here is also famous for its meticulously inlaid mother of pearl. After visiting DongKy village, we drive back to a restaurant in Hanoi for lunch.
After lunch, we keep heading to the east of Hanoi to visit Van Phuc silk village. Located about 15 km west of Hanoi’s center, Van Phuc has been well-known for silk making and silk products for centuries. The streets of Van Phuc, lined with modern store fronts selling beautiful silk clothes and fabrics, are abuzz with looms and sewing machines. The local silk is famous for its smooth, lightweight appearance and qualities that enable it to be dyed more colors to suit a variety of skin tones. You can buy ready-made garments or buy the raw fabric and have one of Hanoi’s famous tailor custom-craft your clothes. Tour ends at your hotel.
Vietnam Traditional Handicraft Villages General Information:
In Vietnam, there are traditional handicrafts: ceramic, bamboo products, lacquer-ware, mother-of-pearl inlaying...
There are many villages throughout the country that produce ceramics. Some of these villages include Phu Lang in Bac Ninh Province, Huong Canh in Vinh Phuc Province, Lo Chum in Thanh Hoa Province, Thanh Ha in Hoi An ( Quang Nam Province), and Bien Hoa in Dong Nai Province.
Bat Trang Ceramic Village ( Hanoi) is very old. According to historical documents, products from this village were well known as far back as the 15th century.
Vietnamese ceramic is now well known in both the domestic and international markets. Traditional products include kitchen items and trays. The flower-patterned bowls of Bat Trang have been exported to Sweden, the cucumber pots to Russia, and the teapots to France.
Bamboo and rattan products from Vietnam first appeared on the world market at a Paris fair in 1931. Since then, more than 200 items made from these materials are sold overseas. Among the most popular are baskets, flower pots, lampshades, and bookshelves.
Lacquer ware is really typical to Vietnam, although it also exists in other Asian countries. It is said that the resin extracted from the trees in Phu Tho Province is the best one. As such, the lacquer-ware products made in Vietnam are very beautiful and durable.
As early as the 18th century, people in Nam Ngu District in Thang Long ( Hanoi) specialize in making lacquer-ware products. In its early stages of development, lacquer-ware contained only four colors: black, red, yellow, and brown. However, due to improvements in technologies in later years, additional pigment colours were made, therein, creating a wider range of lacquer colors.
Currently, Vietnamese made lacquer-ware products are essential in both the domestic and foreign markets. The renowned products include wall paintings, flower vases, jewelery boxes, trays, chessboards, and folding screens.
Mother-of Pearl Inlaying:
Craftsmen performing inlaying use different types of oyster shells and pearls, which offer a wide array of colours. This art form requires a lot of effort as the process of inlaying involves numerous stages, including designing, grinding, cutting, carving, chiseling, and polishing.
Inlaying is widely used in the furniture industry to make tables, desks, chairs, picture frames, and trays that portray various ancient tales. These tales are displayed as scenes of nature, such as birds, butterflies, lotus ponds, and banana trees.
The process of inlaying furniture has increased the value of wooden articles. According to legend, this handicraft originated in the Chuon Village in Ha Tay Province.
Most of the traditional sculptures are made in Danang Province, more specifically near Ngu Hanh Son Mountain located between Quan Khai and Hoa Khe villages.
Sculptors use marble to carve various articles of high value, including bracelets, ash-trays, Buddha statues, ornamental flowers, leaves and trees, and animal statues, such as cats and peacocks.
In the past, embroidery was mainly reserved for the benefit of the upper class, temples, and pagodas. The technique of this art form was rather simple, and it involved only five colors of thread: yellow, red, green, violet, and blue.
Presently, embroidered goods serve both useful and decorative purposes. New technologies have helped to produce new materials, such as white cloth, lampshades, and lace. As a result, the embroidery industry has developed and there is now a wide range of new products including pillowcases, bed sheets, and kimonos. The most skilled type of embroidery is the production of portraits, which requires using up to 60 different colors of thread.
It is believed that embroidery originated in Quat Dong Village in Ha Tay Province.
As soon as the 2nd century, the Vietnamese were using gold and silver to create jewelery. There are three different techniques used to make gold and silver jewelery, including intricate carving, casting, which is the process of melting metal and pouring it into flower, lead, or bird shaped molds, and common processing, which is a process of polishing metal.
These three techniques can be combined to make intricate pieces of jewelery. Because of the flexibility of the raw materials, the color of gold, and the brightness of silver, beautiful necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, trays, and cups are created.
It is said that gold work originated in Dinh Cong Village near Hanoi and that silver work originated in Dong Xam Village in Thai Binh Province.
Since the 1980s, the production of fine wooden articles has experienced a strong revival. These works of art have been much sought after in both domestic and foreign markets. The most popular of these products are wooden statutes and sets of wooden chairs, cabinets, and beds.
Currently, there are many companies dealing in the production and sale of wooden items. Their skilled employees have produced many beautiful and highly appreciated products.
Copper casting is one of the most famous and enduring traditional art forms of Vietnam. With the help of technology, several ancient copper items from all over the country have been preserved. Approximately 3,000 years ago, ancient Vietnamese discovered how to cast copper to make brass tools, weapons, and ornaments; therein, initiating the metal age. Some brass statues that have been preserved serve as proof of the blooming period of copper casting in Vietnam. In later years, pursuing their forefathers’ talents, handicrafts men created many innovative brass products that suited the needs of society.
Some of the most famous copper pieces known today include a series of brass drums that were cast over centuries. As well, there are brass artifacts currently exhibited in Hue, such as a bronze kettle at the Imperial Palace (1659-1684), the bronze plaque of Thien Mu Pagoda (1677), the bell of Thien Mu Pagoda (1710), the Nine Cannons (1803-1804), and the Nine Dynastic Urns (1835-1837).
Today, only a few copper casting villages remain, such as Ngu Xa in Hanoi, the casting quarter near Hue, and Phuoc Kieu in Quang Nam.