Ngoc Dong Is Heir to a Priceless Craft Heritage
Of a flooded rice paddy area belonging to Hoang Dong, Duy Tien district of Ha Nam province, Ngoc Dong village is located tranquilly under the shade of century-old trees next to antique temples. But, in that peaceful space, there is a rhythm of vitality emanating from a famous rattan wares village, and its name became a source of pride for Vietnamese traditional handicrafts.
Previously, Ngoc Dong village was only an agricultural village. Mr. Binh Cong, a person from Tu Son – Bac Ninh province, earned merit by bringing this craft to Ngoc Dong villagers. More than 100 years ago, he started using rattan instead of wood and created first Tone chairs – a chair with a wasp-waisted form. Since then, rattan began being used in the craft village. With its widespread fame, more and more people in the village came to work as apprentices, and it became a hereditary craft through the present.
Thanks to traditional craft and the skill of villagers, living standards of Ngoc Dong villagers improved. Rattan ware has not only brought in a comfortable life but also fame to Vietnam’s rattan industry. In 1960, Ngoc Dong village had the great honor of presenting Uncle Ho a set of rattan chairs and table, now kept at his house on stilts. Further, products of Ngoc Dong have had the honor of bridging hospitality between the Vietnamese and friends all over the world. Kim Nhat Thanh, president of North Korea, expressed much appreciation of the beauty of the cane saloon chair he was presented when visiting the village.
Ngoc Dong villagers have created countless numbers of products exported to dozens of countries – to Eastern Europe and potential markets such as Japan, Germany, England, Taiwan, and recently to America, bringing annual export revenues of more than 30 billion VND. Not complacent, Ngoc Dong villagers are motivated and eager to improve their products to match the demands of the consumer.
Apart from traditional rattan wares, Ngoc Dong is quite famous for its exclusive range in a special product, the so-called rattan twisting bamboo. Rattan fibers are twisted with bamboo splints to create a strong structure that won’t warp under any weather conditions: excellent sturdy products such as baskets, suitcases, trays, plates, big jars, and aesthetic products such as chairs of a girl form, chairs of a king style, and cloth hangers of a palace style. All those products are imbued with luxury, status, and fashion.
The true value of Ngoc Dong rattan wares will merit their gaining a better position in the international market considering that young generations always desire to improve their products, and passion is always in their heart.