Kieu Ky village gold lamination inscribed as national heritage
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A gold leaf seen at Kieu Ky Village in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Le Bich.
Gold lamination in Kieu Ky Village on the outskirts of Hanoi is one of eight national cultural heritages recognized by the culture ministry on Tuesday.
The craft appeared in Kieu Ky Village, Gia Lam District over 300 years ago during the Le Dynasty (1428-1789) after an official named Nguyen Quy Tri from northern Hai Duong Province visited China and learnt gold and silver lamination.
When Tri returned, he passed the craft on to the villagers of Kieu Ky then disappeared. To commemorate his contribution, the villagers have since worshiped Tri as the grandmaster of gold and silver lamination.
Before the August Revolution in 1945, the business of gold lamination was quite prosperous, supplying gold for religious artifacts, Buddhist statues, thrones, diaphragms and paintings.
During the two wars against the French and U.S., the gold lamination craft nearly evaporated, but has since been restored and further developed. There are currently about 50 families specializing in gold lamination in Kieu Ky, of which many households produce on a large-scale.
The craft of gold and silver lamination is very elaborate and meticulous, with gold and silver bars hammered until flat then cut into one-centimeter squares before being placed on specialized paper, and beat again.
The paper is thin, tough and soaked many times with homemade ink made of special soot and strong glue, ensuring its durability.
Gold lamination is done for products like religious artifacts or paintings. Photo by VnExpress/Le Bich.
A good craftsman can turn 3.75 grams of gold into a thin leaf with an area of more than 1 square meter. To make 500 gold leaves, an hour's worth of hammering is required. Later, the gold leaves are ready to be inlaid on different products.
The other seven national heritages recognized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Tuesday are Cau Bong Festival in Binh Phuoc Province; Rice Festival of H'mong people in Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province; worship painting craft of Red Dao people in Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province; Thi Cam rice cooking contest in Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi; Khmu people’s dance in Dien Bien Province; shoe making craft of Vietnamese of Chinese origin in Dien Bien; and Nung people’s Sli singing in Na Ri District, Bac Kan Province.