Traditional trade of bronze casting in Phuoc Kieu village

Phuoc Kieu village

The village of Phuoc Kieu in the central province of Quang Nam is a centrepiece of the region’s history, with a 400-year-old traditional trade of bronze casting.

Established by followers of feudal lord Nguyễn Hoàng, the village was said to be his weapon production base in the early 17th century. It was again employed and expanded by Vietnamese 18th-century Tây Sơn army.

The village’s craftsmanship impressed the lords of Tây Sơn;so much that their artisans were;summoned to then capital Phú Xuân, now Hue; to make items used in royal ceremonies, government seals and even cannons.

Four hundred years have passed and the villagers are still keeping the fires burning in the forges. Long gone are the times of weapons making, with village now famous for its bronze decorative items and ceremonial artefacts.

Some of the most prized creations are the bronze gongs, ancient musical instruments popular among the region’s numerous ethnic groups. The village’s artisans passed trade secrets down from generation to generation in bronze casting and fine-tuning to produce the best products.

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An artisan melts bronze at the forge.

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An artisan puts the final touches on his workshop’s bronze gongs.

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Workers pour molten bronze into a mould during a casting.

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It’s a meticulous process to fine tune the gongs so they will produce good sound and resonance.

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A mould being cleaned and prepared for casting.

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