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Under the ancient Vietnamese houses.

  • By: Ngo Dinh Tu
  • Date: 13/12/2013

Step over the main entrance in the shade of green arecas in the morning, we surprised by quite  peaceful beauty of ancient houses in Vinahouse Space appearing behind kinds of simple common trees and flowers that we can easily find at any rural villages in Vietnam such as orchids, rose-mallows or Chinese tea. It seems as time doesn’t come here. Mr. Le Van Vinh, the owner of Vinahouse Space, said in general : time seems stop here for us to touch memories of past hundreds of year while we see every brick, horizontal lacquered board (engraved with Chinese characters), tile roof, parallel sentence, coach, cooking fire and an earthenware vessel for water put in house yard.


Just 33 years old, Mr. Vinh is named “king of ancient house in Central Region”, he now owns the biggest most valuable unique collection of ancient houses in Vietnam. Among them, the most valuable is an over 200 years-old house consisting of 3 compartments and 4 lean-tos. The house belonged to family of Mrs.Tran Thi Thao(Dai Loc District, Quang Nam Province), passed 6 generations living in it, with 108 columns, 12.21m in width, 17.42m in length and 5m in height. This is a rare grandiose traditional house with wonderful wooden sculpture art and building through its unique patterns. This ancient architecture is recognized as the most beautiful biggest ancient house in the Central region. Or a communal house in the village built on semicircular lake bears the hallmark of North Delta which appeared early from XI century (1030), located on the architectural complex of Ly Bat De Temple  ( Do Temple ) at Dinh Bang village ( Tu Son, Bac Ninh ). This spectacular elegant architecture was where for past dignitaries enjoyed water puppetry performances and chosen as image printed on banknote by Indochina Bank.

The large conical house, designed with inspiration from the image of a palm-leaf conical hat, attached to the beauty of Vietnamese women, covers the roof by 2.4 million pieces of coconut shells in the form of fish scales is another artistic masterpiece with a combination of ancient features and contemporary beauty. To finish this artistic work, all of 250 workers and craftsman had to work continuously during 55 days and nights. On October of 2013, the house is recognized national record by Vietkings. 

However, Mr.Vinh is impressed and satisfied most with a house consisting of 1 compartment and 2 lean-tos, made from thatch and bamboo which was collected and restored at the end of 2012, one of 3 left houses in Quang Nam  made from those kinds of material. Although it is 102 year-old house, all farming tools and furniture in it still left.

“Valuation for the house is impossible, because effort for searching suitable material using for restoring the house as original is invaluable”, Mr.Vinh confirmed. He felt happy when the ex-owner of the house praised “he is very talented , he restores my home as original copy where I had been living near all of my lifetime. Every time I come back to see the house, I seem as be lived with my memories, see my parents singing melodious lullabies, little boys with their buffalos, bath on river….and smell kitchen smoke in the late afternoon.

After tens of year traveling and perceiving carpentry quintessence of Kim Bong village, nowadays, Mr. Vinh satisfied  his dream with the biggest museum of ancient house in Vietnam, with its price reaching tens of million of USD. Located on the street connecting with two of world cultural heritages My Son and Hoi An, Vinahouse Space is 11.000 square meters in area at La Qua village, Dien Ban District ( now is Dien Minh commune ) with 18 unique ancient houses of Vietnamse and 15 architectural works restored as original. This is also place for worshiping ancestor of the carpenter, and for restoring thousands of ancient artifacts, the samples of ancient patterns, and the wooden sculpture in traditional village across North-Central-South of Viet Nam. Ancient beauty under the old roofs can hold back any visitors coming here.

It requires confidence and predestination to anyone who would like to follow this painstaking job, “the trade of play and love”, as Mr.Vinh joking. There’re many houses we were impressed immediately in the first time, however, it’s not easy to persuade the owners selling for us. Vietnamese appreciate their home where they live and worship their ancestors, in spite of being poor or wealthy, Vietnamese will never sell their house even they become damaged nearly all. For example, to buy the bamboo ancient house, it took us 4 years to persuade the owner.  And another ancient house, even we had to promise to rebuild it right in Quang Nam as requirement of the owner, Mr. Vinh confided. This mind helps Vinh be succeeded, after 15 years of operation; his company-Vinahouse Corporation has restored and renovated more than 1,000 homes and thousands of traditional wooden sculptures. Especially, Vinh has also built Vinahouse Space become an attractive tourism place with a museum of ancient houses, traditional handicraft village and specialties area across North-Central-South with traditional dishes such as Quang’s noodle, a dish is recorded “Asian food value”, bloating fern-shaped cake, Hue beef noodle soup, bamboo-tube rice……In next Tet holiday, besides traditional food offerings to the ancestors meeting all customs and traditions in every region of Viet Nam, Mr.Vinh intended to gather all generations who were ex-owners of ancient houses to make a documentary film to reappear Vietnamese life, living, traditional culture as an advertisement about tourism of Quang Nam to both domestic and international tourists. Between urbanization trends, the value of a heritage seemed forgotten, has been evoked, exquisitely silhouetted under the ancient Vietnamese houses.

[Source: CAND.COM.VN]

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