|A worker in the Phú Lộc Tây 1 Bronze Casting Village in Khánh Hoà Province is checking the kiln fire. — Photo danviet.vn|
KHÁNH HOÀ — People in a commune of southern coastal province of Khánh Hoà have made efforts to keep and develop a very unique traditional craft occupation for hundreds of years.
It is bronze casting occupation in Phú Lộc Tây 1 Village, Diên Khánh Township of Diên Khánh District.
Locating on Cái River, Phú Lộc Tây Bronze Casting Village, which is existing for over 200 years, specialises in manufacturing copper products, especially famous lamp stands that have existed for over 200 years.
On the occasion of Lunar New Year (Tết), the village turns on fire around the clock to cast and manufacture copper products.
Normally, people just work only 7-8 hours a day but in the days near Tết many households have to stay up late to work all night.
The artisans in the village said that in the past, this occupation was done on a small scale by households but tens recent years, with the passion of loving the profession, the senior generations had guided the younger generations to follow and maintain the profession which helps to make products more and more popular to customers nation-wide.
The village’s products are mostly bronze worshipping objects such as incense burners, lamp stands, vases and plates.
|Biện Cư, a bronze casting artisan with his products. — Photo danviet.vn|
Currently, the products are not only consumed in the province but also supplied to other provinces such as Thừa Thiên Huế, Đà Nẵng, Bình Định, Phú Yên, Ninh Thuận and HCM City.
Biện Cư, a 73-year-old villager who has more than 50 years of experience of bronze casting, told danviet.vn: "The village currently has about 40 households engaging in the bronze casting job.”
“In my family, there are three generations doing the job which was passed on to me and my children from my grandfather,” said Biện Cư.
To make beautiful and sophisticated products, the people of Phú Lộc Tây 1 Village use completely manual methods.
Accordingly, in order to have a finished product, people have to go through different stages such as making a 2-layer mold including a main mold inside another which is covered by soil to prevent liquefied copper to flow out.
During the firing process, the worker must keep the fire even so that copper is not overbaked or underbaked.
The work requires thoroughness and experience to know if the copper liquid is flowing evenly or unevenly, and make a reasonable calculation so that the amount of copper is enough to cast into the product.
After firing and unloading the kiln, artisans also perform many other stages to create a finished product.
The prices of bronze casting products are also different depending on designs, weight and sophistication.
|Biện Cư shows the 2-layer molds. — Photo danviet.vn|
The costs of the set of lamp stand range from VNĐ2.5 to 4.5 million (US$108-195).
Thanks to this profession, the villagers have more income. Many households build houses, buy luxury furniture and pay their children’s higher education fees.
Biện Quỳnh Anh, a villager, said that thanks to the guidance of previous generations, he has mastered manufacturing stages and he earned VNĐ500,000-700,000 ($22-30) per day from the profession.
“For the last two years, the village’s products were sold less than in previous years due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Biện Cư.
“Besides, the price of copper and labour increased sharply that made the bonze casters more difficult,” he said.
The Phú Lộc Tây 1 Bronze Casting Village is also an attractive destination for tourists who love ancient culture and craft occupations.
This place is proud to be one of the few craft villages officially recognised by King Tự Đức of Nguyễn Dynasty as a traditional craft village with sophisticated quality products.
“No matter how difficult it is, I still tried to maintain and pass the profession on to young artisans to promote the quintessence of the previous generations,” Biện Cư confirmed. — VNS