A village in northern Vietnam recently won the Vietnamese record as the country’s oldest crafts village which remains in operation.
Also known as Ha Dong silk village, Van Phuc silk village, located in Ha Dong district, some 10 km from downtown Hanoi, recently earned the record from the Vietnam Records Organization (Vietkings).
The 1,000-year-old village has made the country’s premium silk, which was presented to the kings in the old times.
The silk was also selected to represent Vietnamese crafts at the international fairs in Marseille and Paris in 1931 and 1932 respectively. It was also considered by the French as the Indochina’s premium silk.
Known for its traditional silk weaving techniques, the village’s hallmark Ha Dong silk has long gained a firm foothold on the local market and has also been exported to several other countries.
785 households, or almost 60% of Van Phuc village’s population remain engaged in silk weaving.
Each year, the village produces some 2.5 to 3million m2 of silk, which earn them some VND27 billion (US$1.27 million), or 63% of the village’s revenues.
The village currently boasts more than 1,000 silk weaving machines and employs some 400 seasonal workers from neighboring provinces.
The village is now lined with over 100 silk shops, which offer tourists, particularly foreigners an excellent choice for gifts. The silk can be sewed into stunning “ao dai” (traditional Vietnamese long gowns) or other costumes.
The Van Phuc silk has earned the “Thang Long gold trademark” from 2011 to 2013.
The village is also chosen by the Hanoi People’s Council among the capital’s seven hallmark crafts villages to be preserved.
Traditional crafts in a number of villages across Vietnam have now faced “extinction” due to the shrinking market.