by Hoai Nam
Artisan Pham Tien has been displaying his best stone sculptures on the Han River bank since last month as the central city of Da Nang promotes its Fourth International Fireworks Competition on April 29-30.
|Stony end: A sculpture by Tien is one of 74 works displayed on the banks of the Han River. — VNS Photo
Tien, 51, the fourth generation of a family based in the stone carving village of Non Nuoc, has been a sculptor since first opening his workshop 20 years ago.
The workshop, home to 25 skilful artisans and thousands of stone artworks, is now a destination for around 300 tourists each day.
His marble sculptures, including bracelets and tiny statues, are traveller favourites due to ease of transport.
"I inherited the job from my father when I was a boy. The village of over 3,000 handicraftsmen is well-known for its stone carvings and pagoda on the marble mountain," Tien said.
The artist said that statues of Buddha, portraits, home and garden decorations and stone furniture are among the most popular products in his shop.
The majority of his 74 works displayed on the Han River bank, features statues of women and the dragon, unicorn, tortoise and phoenix.
"I would like to express my idea of a peaceful coastal city life and the beauty of women. The animal statues are symbols of a stable and prosperous city. I want to show visitors that Da Nang is a place worth visiting for its ocean climate and pristine beaches," the artisan said.
Stone engraving has been a prosperous trade in the village since the 18th century, currently generating an income of VND100 billion (US$4.5 million) each year.
Although earning a good income, most young people prefer other jobs to the ancestral craft because of occupational diseases related to stone artwork production.
"Only men aged between 35 and 50 still practise the trade because they could not find better jobs and few want to see the 200 year-old trade fall into oblivion," Tien added.
The Non Nuoc Village, situated 10km southeast of Da Nang City and close to beautiful My Khe beach, is also a lure for tourists.
"I'll practise the craft as long as I live. It's a treasure for my ancestors and the village. I'm proud to be a craftsman of the land where I was born and grew up."
The village's stone shops have been included as some of the most visited destinations for tourists in Da Nang during holidays. — VNS