Silver craft of Hang Bac street

(VOVworld) – Hanoi’s old quarter has 36 streets and each street is generally associated with a handicraft. It’s easy to recognize the trade of a street by the available products and the sounds from their workshops. We now introduce Hang Bac street, a silver casting guild.

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Hang Bac street

Hang Bac is located in the center of Hanoi’s old quarter in Hoan Kiem precinct. The old houses have been preserved and the aged-old silver casting handicrafts have been continued by many families living here. Kim Ngan temple, which worships the founder the silver craft, was built in the early 15th century. It has documented the craft’s origins and the first craftsmen who settled in Thang Long capital, the now Hanoi.

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A hand-made silver product by Hang Bac craftmen

Their offspring in Hang Bac street have maintained a relationship with their clan and relatives back in their home villages. Pham Huy Dung is a resident in Hang Bac: “In the 15th and 16th century, Minister of Interior Luu Xuan Tin was assigned to cast silver products. He returned to his home village of Chau Khe, Hai Duong province, to select the best artisans and others from Dong Xam and Dinh Cong village to establish a silver casting guild in Thang Long citadel.”

There are hundreds of silver workshops in Hang Bac street. Most of them have upgraded modern equipment while a few shops have maintained the traditional manual techniques.

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Craftman Nguyen Chi Thanh

Nguyen Chi Thanh owns a shop in Hang Bac: “Generations of my family have pursued this trade. It’s an invaluable craft and we have to preserve it. Many people cannot differentiate traditional handicraft from industrial products. Hundreds of shops on Hang Bac street are selling similar commercial products. Ours are hand-made. It’s our advantage and we can make a living from this job.”

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Son of Thanh is making a silver bracelet

The silver craftsmen consider trust the ultimate principle. Families have maintained traditional values, while neighbors have assisted each other in trading. 80-years old Hoang Thi Khue  talks about her family’s life: “My family has been living here since our great grandparents.  Our house is narrow but we’re used to it. We have an altar to worship our ancestors which has been kept over many generations.”

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The hand-made silver bracelet

Hang Bac street now has many fashion and fine arts shops, bars, and tourist services alongside the jewelry shops. It’s part of the tourist hub in Hanoi’s old quarter.