Keeping the bronze casting tradition alive

A small village just outside of Hanoi continues a tradition of bronze casting that can be traced back to at least six centuries.

Village living in the bronze age shines on [Link no longer active]
Viet Nam News, 31 May 2010

Nguyen Van Ung’s red house is easily spotted along picturesque Tran Vu Street on Truc Bach Lake to the west of downtown Ha Noi. The house is eye-catching not only because of its colour, but also due to its unusual architecture, a mishmash of ancient and modern.

If, like the many foreign tourists who come to the city, you venture through the front door, you will travel back in time 400 years to the age of the Ngu Xa artisans who specialised in casting bronze.

Defying the tests of time, Ngu Xa Village, like the bronze works its craftsmen produce, refuses to die.

The room on the ground floor of the house is like a small museum. It is where Ung and his craftsmen keep alive an ancient and proud tradition.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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