Friday, December 4 2020


Mountain blacksmiths keep the fire burning

Update: December, 30/2017 - 09:00
Pointy: A blacksmith sharpens one of his knives before putting them up for sale.
Viet Nam News

The end of the year is a busy time for the blacksmiths of Phúc Sen Village in the northern mountainous province of Cao Bằng. Nobody knows how long the tradition has distinguished the village, but the elders believe blacksmithing has been their community’s trade for almost a thousand years.

Detailed: Workers finish a batch of knives. Knives are among the most popular products made by the village’s blacksmiths.
There are forges and anvils at almost every house in the village. Demand for their products, which mostly consist of agricultural tools and household items such as scythes, hoes, shovels, scissors and knives, usually peaks before Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays. During this time, the village’s women also roll up their sleeves and join their husbands and sons at the fire.
Take it home: The village’s products are popular souvenirs among tourists and visitors to the region.

The majority of the locals are of Tày and Nùng ethnicity, two of the country’s 54 ethnic groups with a population of nearly 2.7 million. Blacksmithing has been passed down from generation to generation among local households. Seasoned blacksmiths, in the absence of technologically advanced tools, draw from their decades of experience and strictly follow their ancient techniques to produce some of the finest products that can be found on the market.

Bang bang: Workers hammer a hoe blade at the anvil.
“Customers come from far away to buy our products,” said Nông Văn Luyến, a master blacksmith with more than 60 years of experience under his belt. “Our products may look ordinary but the more they are used, the sharper they become.”
Blazing: A blacksmith works with a coal forge. — VNA/VNS Photos Đoàn Tùng

Many villagers believe the trade is a gift from their ancestors. Not only the main source of income for the village, blacksmithing is a way to honour and preserve their cultural identity and heritage. — VNS


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