Huynh Ri revitalizes ancient temples and pagodas in Quang Nam province

(VOVWORLD) - Kim Bong carpentry village is located in Cam Kim commune of Hoi An town beside the Thu Bon river. The 500-year-old village is renowned for its wood carving and sculpture. The traditional carpentry has been preserved by the village craftsmen, especially People’s Artisan Huynh Ri, who has restored ancient temples and pagodas in Quang Nam province. 
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People’s Artisan Huynh Ri (Photo: Lan Phuong/ VOV5)

Kim Bong carpentry began in the late 15th century and flourished in the 18th century. Many local craftsmen contributed to building the architectural complex of Hoi An town. The quintessence of Kim Bong carpentry is clearly seen in the skillful and delicate carvings of ancient houses, pagodas, and club houses in Hoi An.

Huynh Ri is a 12th generation carpenter in Kim Bong and the grandson of Huynh Kim Dai, who was chosen by Nguyen King to oversee the restoration of ancient houses in Hoi An town.

While working with his father, Huynh Ri became interested in the decorations and carving techniques of Hoi An’s pagodas. He trained himself in wood carving. Ri has revitalized the intricate architectural details of many ancient temples and pagodas. In 1992, he restored the badly damaged Ngu Bang club house. Ri’s restoration of the club house was filmed by a Japanese TV station and broadcast in Japan. Mr. Huynh Ri said: “I had to study carefully the ancient architectural details to bring them to their original state. I have restored a number of temples and pagodas in Quang Nam and other areas. In 1995, I worked with the stop-over house of King Minh Mang at Tam Thai pagoda”.

During his career, Huynh Ri has restored many valuable architectural and cultural works requiring expert carving techniques, including Ngoc Giang monastery and Tam Thai pagoda in Da Nang City, Thanh  Quyt communal house, and the Bac De statue at Cau pagoda in Quang Nam.

He also constructed models of boats for museums in Hoi An and Da Nang. A miniature of Hoi An’s Cau pagoda made by Huynh Ri in a ratio of 1to 50was chosen by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as a gift for Japanese leaders when he visited Japan in June.

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Artisan Huynh Ri made a miniature of Hoi An’s Cau pagoda. 

Huynh Ri is committed to preserving the traditional carpentry of Kim Bong village. In 1996, he trained 30 young people in carpentry. In 1997, a UNESCO delegation visited Ri’s workshop and gave him a grant of 4,000 USD to preserve and restore the traditional carpentry craft of Kim Bong village. Mr. Huynh Ri again: “It takes 3 years to teach somebody how to create a carpentry product. Our village’s carpentry is typical in that a carpenter must do all the processes involved in creating a finished product”.

Huynh Ri has now trained more than 100 craftsmen, many of whom have opened their own carpentry workshops and have prospered. The carpentry village has revived and become a popular attraction for many domestic and foreign visitors. Ms. Truong Thi Le is a resident of Cam Kim commune: “Huynh Ri has contributed a lot to preserving and developing the carpentry village. He is a dedicated carpenter. He goes to the workshop early in the morning and comes home late”.

In 2016, Huynh Ri was recognized as a People’s Artisan for his tireless effort to develop the traditional carpentry of Kim Bong village and preserve the great architectural values of Quang Nam province.