Artisans at a workshop in a central Vietnamese province remain faithful to ancient bronze casting techniques and churn out fine-quality craft items. Hiep Thanh Workshop, located in Phu Vang District in Thua Thien-Hue Province, has long been known for traditional bronze products and instruments.
The facility runs on a family operation to ensure that products meet stringent technical requirements, and safeguard well-preserved production secrets.
Bronze casting comprises three phases, namely making molds, casting bronze into molds and cooling the items.
Items used for worshipping purposes such as incense burners and candle holders need more sophisticated phases, which include adding coatings of gold and silver and carvings to the articles, and polishing and dying them. This technically-demanding craft must be done by highly seasoned head artisans who grasp all the production phases like the back of their hand.
It also takes great creativity and an acute sense of esthetics to design and craft exquisite items.
Below are a series of photos by Ngo Cong Hoang showing the job.
These photos were one of the entries to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper's year-long competition themed “Vietnam – Country – People" concluding in October last year.
Workers heat up molds and bury them in sandy soil before casting the melted bronze into them.
Molds are piled up and dried.
Two artisans file and polish coatings of gold and silver added to items for worshipping purposes.
An artisan works on the statue of Bodhisattva of Compassion.
The final phase is inspecting products for flaws and polishing them before launching them in the market.