Last update: 13:38 | 16/07/2017
Chang Son village in Thach That district, about 30 kilometers from the center of Hanoi, is one of age-old carpentry villages in Vietnam.
The village craft keeps developing with its carpentry products which are sold nationwide.
Nobody in the village remembers exactly how Chang Son carpentry craft was founded and who is profession’s forefather. There are many communal houses but none worships the tutelary god of the carpentry craft.
Legend has it that Chang Son carpentry dated back the time when Hung Kings founded the nation.
The village had so many talented carpenters that Saint Tan Vien personally went down the mountain to invite Master Pho Ca San and village woodworkers to make the Saint’s worshipping house.
The story about Master San was mentioned in the famous literary work “Vang bong mot thoi” (Echo and Shadow Upon a Time) by renowned writer Nguyen Tuan.
Chang Son carpentry craft was also referred to in the Geography Book written by Nguyen Trai, a cultural celebrity, in the middle of the 15th century.
In the 16th century, several craftsmen in the village were invited to China to participate in the construction of the palaces and royal tombs for the Ming dynasty and the Qing dynasty.
Chang Son carpentry products are diverse, from house-building woodwork and household furniture to carved products including trestle-beds, tea-chests, pagoda cabinets, and decorative relief, and wooden statues like worshiping statues, fine arts statues and puppet statues.
Nguyen Khac Tien, one of the artisans of Chang Son village, says the village is famous for making sophisticated sets of sofas with designs simulating four supernatural creatures or four seasons.
He added, “Chang Son is most famous for making traditional wood houses. The profession is of cultural significance. It takes about 2 years to complete such a house. Between 10 and 15 years ago, our workers were involved in repairing historical relics in Hanoi including the Temple of Literature, Ha Pagoda, and Bach Ma Temple.”
Chang Son carpenters have created the most unique artistic works in Vietnam. Most notable are 18 arhat statues and wooden statues of Buddha at Tay Phuong Pagoda, a special national relic, on the outskirts of Hanoi.
Artisan Tien said, “Tay Phuong Pagoda was built by Chang Son woodworkers. The pagoda’s beams or bed joints made 300 years ago are still tight. The statues of Buddha there look lively. Now nobody can do like this.”
In the past, Chang Son had many groups of carpenters. All were skillful. Each group was led by a person called Master. Pho Ca. Now the whole village has 6 excellent artisans.
Nguyen Thu Vien, a village elder, said, “The talents of Chang Son carpenters are nationally recognized. They are very skillful and their products are extremely sophisticated. Nobody can copy them. Even they themselves can’t do them a second time. I’m a Chang Son villager and was born into a family of 3 generations engaged in the career. I myself can’t imagine how our products can be so beautiful!”
Chang Son wood items are typical in every detail and pattern.
Nguyen Van Vien, a local carpenter, said, “Chang Son village has strength in assembling bed joints. Our skills in assembling joints are the best, especially for sofas, high-end furniture, and wooden houses. We don’t use iron nails. We just use joints to connect parts of products with each other. Now we make tailored products for clients from across the country.”
Chang Son has been recognized as a typical traditional craft village of Vietnam. With hundreds of households engaged in carpentry, part of the village has been turned into shopping area offering high-end wooden furniture.