Preserving the quintessence of H’Mong silver carving

Almost every H'Mong person in the Dong Van Stone Plateau, Ha Giang province, knows about silver carving artist Mua Se Sinh in Lao Xa village, Sung La commune, Dong Van district.

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Preserving the quintessence of H'Mong silver carving
Artisan Mua Se Sinh meticulously teaches young artisans silver carving techniques. Photo: NhanDan

Inheriting the traditional profession of his family, from a young age until now, at nearly 70 years old, he continues to teach his descendants the quintessence of silver carving. His white silver jewelry is famous for its unique and sophisticated carvings, always trusted in and ordered by people throughout the region. Not only that, many domestic and foreign tourists, who know the artisan Mua Se Sinh, have come to buy themselves jewelry such as rings, bracelets, anklets and necklaces. cited NhanDan.

Preserving the quintessence of H'Mong silver carving
Exquisite jewelry from the artisans. Photo: NhanDan
Preserving the quintessence of H'Mong silver carving
The silver carving stage requires a high level of skill, along with patience, and is usually undertaken by the master craftsman. Photo: NhanDan
Preserving the quintessence of H'Mong silver carving
Artisan Mua Se Sinh checks the products before delivering them to customers. Photo: NhanDan
A silver bracelet is an indispensable jewellery item of every H’mong woman, particularly on special occasions such as festivals, New Year holidays, and weddings. Photo: VNN
A silver bracelet is an indispensable jewellery item of every H’mong woman, particularly on special occasions such as festivals, New Year holidays, and weddings. Photo: VNN
Preserving the quintessence of H'Mong silver carving
According to Sinh, thanks to the support from machines, the quality of silver products has been enhanced and the workers’ labour has been saved. Photo: VNN
Preserving the quintessence of H'Mong silver carving
A pair of silver bracelet. Photo: VNN
Preserving the quintessence of H'Mong silver carving
Sinh’s products are varied in types and models, including rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Photo: VNN
Preserving the quintessence of H'Mong silver carving
Weighing silver to calculate the final product price. Photo: VNN

Products’ pricing is evaluated on the weight of the amount of raw silver, the difficulty and sophistication of the product, and the effort of the artisans. For example, a simple ring which can be finished making within a morning can cost between VND80,000 to VND150,000 (US$3.49 to US$6.55). A silver bracelet which requires one or two days to complete can be sold at around VND600,000 (US$26.19) while a necklace can be priced up to VND10 million (US$436.51), reported VNN.

Earrings – highlights of H’mong people

Besides the dramatic beauty of the landscapes, visitors to the northwest region of Vietnam easily fall for the H’mong ethnic women’s silver earrings.

Earings of H'mong ethnic people. Photo: VNA
Earings of H’mong ethnic people. Photo: VNA

According to the H’mong people, earrings are not simply beautiful jewellery. Deep behind it is the cultural values reflecting the customs and characteristics of the ethnic group.

Simple or complicated, the earrings are made of silver and carved in rounded shapes to symbolise the moon and sun – the gods of power of the H’mong.

H’mong girls wear earrings since young, at 14-15 years old and do not take them off even when working in the field, weaving or going to the market. Beyond their beauty, the earrings also manifest the wealth of their owners, reported VNA.

It is believed that the bigger earrings the women wear, the stronger, healthier and more hard-working they are. Sometimes, they are used as symbolic weapon to protect the owners from evil spirits and poisonous winds.

On the surface of the earrings are carved tiny flowers and sophisticated symmetric patterns, and sometimes just several random lines. The handmade patterns convey the emotional world of the ethnic women, reflecting their dreams, joy and sorrow in their daily life.

The sparkling and clanking silver jewellery manifest the meticulousness, skillfulness, and rich spiritual culture of the H’mong people, which is closely connected to surrounding nature.