Being home to “hundreds of craft villages”, Hanoi treasures the quintessence of many traditional craft villages. Not only do Hanoi’s craft villages offer a wide range of products but they also hold cultural values that are built up and crystallized after generations of craftsmen here.
There are 1,350 craft villages in Hanoi, 244 of which are traditional craft villages, according to the statistics of Hanoi Industry and Trade Department. Such villages are mainly distributed in suburban districts, mostly in districts of Chuong My (174 villages), Thuong Tin (125 villages), Phu Xuyen (124 villages), Ung Hoa (113 villages), etc. In terms of the number of handicraft villages, bamboo and rattan weaving craft ranks first, including 83 villages, mainly distributed in districts of Chuong My, Ung Hoa, Phu Xuyen, Thach That, etc. The crafts of embroidery and lace, weaving and sewing, leaf conical hat and hat making, etc. hold the next positions regarding the number of villages, respectively. The outstanding villages that reach high annual turnovers include La Phu woollen weaving village (in Hoai Duc district) with VND810 billion, Y La weaving and dyeing hamlet (in Duong Noi ward, Ha Dong district) with VND416 billion, Bat Trang pottery village (in Gia Lam district) with VND350 billion, Chang Son car- pentry village (in Thach That district) with VND282 billion, Van Diem carpentry village (in Thuong Tin village) with VND240 billion, Truong Yen bamboo and rattan weaving village (in Chuong My district) with VND75.6 billion, etc. The crafts in the villages mentioned above have provided jobs with the annual average income of nearly VND30 million for 739,630 people.
Hanoi’s traditional handicraft villages can be divided into 14 main categories as below.
Lacquer and oyster encrusting villages: Oyster encrusting craft originated in the Ly dynasty, about 1,000 years ago in Chuon Ngo village (in Chuyen My commune, Phu Xuyen district) and the man who first taught villagers here these handicraft works was Mr. Truong Cong Thanh. There are a total of 39 lacquer and oyster encrusting villages, making up 2.89 percent of Hanoi’s craft villages, concentrating in communes of Duyen Thai (in Thuong Tin district), Chuyen My (in Phu Xuyen district), etc. 11 out of those villages have been recognized to have met the standards of a craft village. This craft has generated jobs and incomes for approximately 35,000 employees, gaining the turnover of VND608.73 billion. It has not only brought Hanoi’s lacquer and oyster encrusting prod- ucts to domestic consumers but also served export to Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the United State, the United Kingdom, etc.
Leaf conical hat and hat making villages: Leaf conical hat and hat making craft appeared in the 15th century in districts such as Thanh Oai, Quoc Oai, Ba Vi, Thanh Tri, etc. This craft flour- ishes in Phuong Trung commune (in Thanh Oai district), providing 10-15 million products for the market an- nually, part of which are exported to the United State, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, the Netherlands, etc. There are 62 leaf conical hat and hat making villages in Hanoi, accounting for 4.59 percent of the city’s crafts. 20 of them have been recognized to have reached the standards of a craft village by Hanoi People Committee, attracting 16,925 households with 52,190 em- ployees.
Bamboo and rattan weaving, flavour toothpick making, bird cage making villages: Bamboo and rattan weaving craft dated back to the 17th century, mainly distributed in communes of Phu Nghia, Truong Yen, Dong Phuong Yen (in Chuong My district), Binh Phu (in Thach That district), Can Huu (in Quoc Oai district), Ninh So (in Thuong Tin district). In Phu Nghia commune only, there are seven villages that maintain and develop this craft with 90 percent of households taking part in the process. Bamboo weaving craft in Ninh So commune (in Thuong Tin dis- trict) originated in the King Le Canh Hung period, about 400 years ago, with Bang So hamlet being an impressive part of the craft village. Paper fan and bird cage making craft appeared in Canh Hoach hamlet, Dan Hoa commune (in Thanh Oai district) in the middle of the 19th century, about 130 to 150 years ago. Bamboo and rattan are the main materials used to weave valuable prod- ucts such as suitcases, table and chairs, cradles, bags, shopping bags, mats, screens, bird cages, incense, closely woven baskets, fans, etc. to provide for domestic and foreign markets. 85 percent of all products are exported to Russia, the United State, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, China, Taiwan, etc. This craft develops in almost all of Hanoi’s districts and 83 out of 365 villages doing this craft have been recognized to have met the standards of a craft village, attracting 159.900 employees.
Forestry products processing, civil carpentry, premium wood- working villages: There are 170 villages to do this craft, making up 12.59 percent of Hanoi’s crafts, ranking second only to bamboo and rattan weaving craft in terms of the number of craft villages. This craft is mainly distributed in districts of Thuong Tin, Dan Phuong, Ung Hoa, Thach That, Ba Vi, Thanh Oai, Phu Xuyen, Phuc Tho, Chuong My, My Duc, and Dong Anh. Until now, 23 villages have been recognized to have reached the standards of a handicraft village, attracting 73,907 employ- ees. Some villages that generate high revenues include Van Diem woodworking village (in Thuong Tin district); Dinh Quan civil woodworking hamlet (in Thuong Tin district); Ha, Trung, Thuong forestry prod- uct processing hamlets in Lien Trung commune (in Dan Phuong district), Lien Ha and Van Ha communes (in Dong Anh district); Huu Bang, Chang Son, Canh Nau, Di Nau civil carpentry and premium woodwork- ing villages (in Thach That district).
Embroidery and lace villages: Originating in the Le Mac period in the 16th century, embroidery was created and handed down to Quat Dong’s villagers (in Thuong Tin district) by Mr. Le Cong Hanh. Using the main materials of fabrics and colored embroidery threads, craftsmen with their skilled hands, shrewd eyes and hard work have created embroidery pictures, lace pieces, kimonos, curtains, tablecloths, uten- sils for domestic consumption and export to countries like Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, France, Italy, etc. There are currently 138 embroidery and lace villages in Hanoi, mainly distribut- ed in districts of Thuong Tin (63 villages), Phu Xuyen (20 villages), My Duc (23 villages), attracting 39,720 employees. 28 villages have been recognized to have met the standards of a craft village.
Weaving and sewing villages: Weaving and sewing craft includes weaving silk, fabrics, mosquito nets, scarfs, wool, and sewing ao dai and other clothes. Using the main materials of silk, fabrics, wool, etc., craftsmen with their skilled hands have made silk products, clothes of different types, especially the traditional ao dai of Vietnam. There are presently 152 weaving and sewing villages, mainly distributed in districts of Phuc Tho, Ung Hoa, Hoai Duc, My Duc, Phu Xuyen, Thanh Oai and Quoc Oai. 25 of them have been recognized to have reached the standards of a craft village, attracting 71,452 employees, bringing products to a large number of countries and territories in the world.
Footwear making and ball stitching villages: There are 12 footwear making and ball snitching villages, including three villages in Phu Xuyen district, seven villages in Thanh Oai district, one village in Ha Dong district and one village in My Duc district. Hanoi People Committee has recognized eight villages to have reached the standards of a craft village. The main material of this craft is tanned bovine leather, used to make utensils for domestic consumption and export. This craft attracts 8,333 employees and generates the turnover of VND320.25 billion.
Paper making and folk painting printing villages: Hanoi’s traditional paper making craft dated back to the Le Trung Hung period in the 17th century. The man who first taught the villagers to do these handicraft works was Old Thai Luan, also the one who provided paper to make votive pa- pers, print books and newspapers, and make fans. Votive paper making craft in Yen Hoa ward (in Cau Giay district), Phong Van village (in Ba Vi district), Luu Phai village (in Ngu Hiep – Thanh Tri district), and folk painting printing craft in villages of Kim Hoang and Van Canh (in Hoai Duc district) have earned good reputation. Nowadays, votive paper making craft tends to develop in districts of Thanh Oai, Phu Xuyen, Hoai Duc, etc. With their skilled hands, craftsmen use the main materials of paper, color powder, woodblock, etc. to create products for domestic market and export.
Forging villages: Forging craft has a long tradition. In Rua Ha hamlet (in Thanh Thuy commune, Thanh Oai district), there are over 80% of households with a suitable scale of factories and closed production lines to make a wide range of products, including hinges, flower-patterned doors, iron doors, electric appliances, motorbike and bicycle spare parts, etc. Forging craft in Da Sy hamlet (in Ha Dong dis- trict) has been developing for hundreds of years with more than 600 smithies. In addition, there are famous traditional forging villages such as Vu Ngoai hamlet (in Ung Hoa dis- trict), Xuan Phuong mechanical village (in Tu Liem district), Tay Mo welding district (in Tu Liem district), Duc Tu iron scissors making village (in Dong Anh district), villages of Yen Vien and Yen Thuong (in Gia Lam district), Phung Xa (in Thach That district), Thuy Hoi and Tan Hoi (in Dan Phuong district), Lieu Noi and Nguyen Hanh (in Thuong Tin district), etc.
Stone, metal, wood, bone, horn sculpture villages: Stone, metal, wood, bone, horn sculpture is a traditional craft that has existed for a long time, with typical examples of Thanh Thuy wood sculpture village (in Thanh Oai district), Nhan Hien stone sculpture village (in Thuong Tin district), Thuy Ung horn comb making village (in Thuong Tin district), Son Dong statue making village (in Hoai Duc district), Chang Son village (in Thach That district), Vo Lang village (in Thanh Oai district), Nhi Khe turnery village (in Thuong Tin district). Using the main materials of wood, stone, horn, ivory, copper, silver, etc., craftsmen with their skilled hands have created valuable handicrafts for domestic consumption and export to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and several countries of EU. There are currently 13 sculpture villages, attracting 21,746 employees and providing them with the annual average income of VND18.6 million.
Pottery and porcelain villages: Pottery and porcelain craft is a traditional one mainly distributed in Bat Trang village. This craft first appeared in Bat Trang over 600 years ago, then spread to the neigh- boring communes such as Kim Lan, Da Ton, Dong Du, and Van Duc. There are three pottery and porcelain villages that have been recog- nized as traditional craft villages, attracting 20,658 employees. Many businesses, cooperatives have actively innovated production technol- ogy, applying the gas kilns in firing products so that the quality of the products is improved while firing time and environmental pollution are reduced. Businesses also invest more and more in designing and developing products based on the collaboration with domestic and foreign designers in order to create a wide range of products mainly for export, including bowls, dishes, pots, cups, statues, flower vases, decorative vases, etc.
Gold-and-silver-leaf villages: Gold-and-silver-leaf villages have developed through many eras, with the purpose of preserving statues, horizontal lacquered boards, parallel sentences of historic relics, temples, pagodas, shrines, etc. in the beginning. To date, Kieu Ky village, with more than 552 households with 2,942 employees, has been recognized as a standard handicraft village by Hanoi People Committee.
Mesh knitting and fishing net weaving villages: The craft of knitting mesh and weaving fishing net appeared a long time ago, using the main materials of hemp yarn and silk in the old days and now nylon twine. There are currently five villages doing this craft, accounting for 0.37 percent of Hanoi’s craft villages, mainly distributed in Son Ha vil- lage (in Phu Xuyen district), and four of them have been recognized to have met the standards of a craft village by Hanoi People Committee so far. This craft generates the revenue of VND23.74 billion, attracting 968 households with 2,617 employees and providing them with the annu- al average income of VND14.4 million.
Other craft villages: Some other handicraft villages of Hanoi have a smaller scale such as Ngu Xa bronze casting village (in Ba Dinh district), Tan Trieu poultry feather village (in Thanh Tri district), Van Diem wooden flower carving village (in Thuong Tin district), etc.