16:02 | 09/05/2015 Industry
(VEN) - Long Thuong Village in Dai Dong Commune in Van Lam District, Hung Yen Province has for a long time been renowned for its bronze products - tripod cauldrons, incense-burners and flower vases, among others.
Traditional occupation preserved
Khong Minh Khong in the 12th century is noted in history books as the founder of the craft in the area. Thanks to the skills of bronze casting handed down through generations, the village’s bronze products have become more perse, including worshipping items like incense-burners, tripod cauldrons, bells and statues.
Compared with other crafts, bronze casting is a harder and more strenuous work which requires not only a good health but also cleverness and skills. In each phase such as preparing clay or mold-making to make the surface of products smooth and shiny, casters discover their own occupational secrets and experience.
Despite the hard work, the local people in Long Thuong have never abandoned the craft, even during the war or economic slowdown. Chairman of the Long Thuong Bronze Casting Association Duong Van Vien said despite the difficulties in the domestic and world economy in the past few years, Long Thuong has maintained and developed the craft and seen more positive results. At present, more than 150 out of 200 households in the village are involved in bronze casting, providing jobs for hundreds of local workers.
Apart from promoting traditional techniques, the local producers have invested in machinery to improve productivity and they also assigned specialized production for each household, for example there are households that only make tripod cauldrons, or others only make incense-burners. Therefore, incomes from bronze casting have gradually increased and become the main source of revenue for the local villagers.
The average income of the local households increased from VND60 million in 2013 to VND120 million in 2014 and is expected to reach VND200-250 million in 2015, equivalent to 80-100 tonnes of bronze products per year.
The village has tried to attract workers from neighboring regions. It has also received assistance from the provincial industry and trade promotion center and the Department of Industry and Trade to open vocational training courses for the village’s new workers. Vien said the support has proved its effectiveness as almost 100 percent of trainees were able to start work early.
Talking about the quality of local products, Vien said the local products were different from bronze imports from China or Chinese Taipei as they used guaranteed traditional techniques and did not feature plating or alloyed metals. In reality, the bronze items used for worshipping made in Long Thuong are favored in the northern region. However, only in recent years have local villagers thought of how to improve their products and develop their brands.
Regarding this issue, Deputy Chairman of the Long Thuong Bronze Casting Association Duong Van Hong said, “Sometimes we were sad when selling our products to other bronze casting villages and those products were introduced to customers under the name of other producers. Therefore, apart from developing more new products, we are also trying to gradually build trademarks for our products.”
Hong added that apart from Long Thuong village traditional products like worshipping items, some production facilities in the village have also researched new products, including statues and interior decoration items. These new products sold very well late last year and their prices were also higher than traditional products as they were produced in a limited run.
To build trademarks for Long Thuong bronze products, thanks to the support of the provincial industry and trade promotion center and other resources, the local bronze casting association recently participated in various trade fairs and exhibitions in provinces and cities throughout the country. It has also set up a website to advertise and sell products. The reputation of the village has also been boosted thanks to greater coverage in the media.
A long time ago, a number of artisans from Long Thuong moved to Thang Long (Hanoi) to take part in the foundation of the famous Ngu Xa bronze casting village.
By Viet Nga & Hai Nam