The art of casting bronze in Van Diem Village

 Van Diem bronze casting village in Y Yen District of the northern province of Nam Dinh has been casting bronze for more than 900 years. These days, some 200 casting enterprises operate there, employing thousands of residents.

the art of casting bronze in van diem village

Bronze casting is not only hard and dangerous work but requires meticulous attention to detail to create perfect products. The casters have to go through many stages from choosing clay to build kilns, choosing the bronze to make molds, and melting the bronze.

the art of casting bronze in van diem village

The most important and decisive step in the production process is pouring bronze into the mold. A dozen workers must follow the orders of the leader as they place nearly one tonne of raw materials, including bronze, tin, and lead, in a melting pot. After nearly an hour, the materials begin melting at a temperature of nearly 1,500 degrees Celsius. Once the bronze melts, it is poured into the mold, a task requiring great accuracy. After cooling, workers remove the mold and move on to the finishing work, using specific tools such as drills, files and knives.

Bronze casters have to rely on their experience and passion when making products, especially those of historical and cultural significance. It is not merely a question of dexterity and skill, the task also engages the artisan’s mind and soul.

the art of casting bronze in van diem village

According to village elders, the founder of the bronze casting craft was Khong Minh Khong, a Zen monk who taught the villagers to make bronze pots, trays, and other items in the early 12th century. The villagers have built a temple to honor his memory. They also hold annual festivals in the middle of the second lunar month to commemorate him.

Van Diem Village has become known all over the region for its sophisticated casting products, which are sold domestically and exported worldwide.

Pham Tiep