Exploring the Traditional Homes of the Tay and Nung People in Thai Nguyen

The northern border province of Lang Son is the home to 7 ethnic groups, which has long been famous for traditional houses called “trinh tuong” of the Tay and Nung people.

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The Lang Son province is home to several districts, including Dinh Lap, Loc Binh, Cao Loc, and Van Lang, that are renowned for their abundance of traditional “trinh tuong” houses. These houses have been diligently preserved throughout the years, as they hold deep significance within the cultural practices and traditions of the Tay and Nung ethnic communities.

The ethnic minorities of Tay and Nung in Lang Son have expertly crafted the ‘trinh tuong’ houses. These unique dwellings are constructed using a mixture of clay and mud, which is carefully shaped and compacted to achieve the desired consistency.

The Tay people have developed two distinct methods for constructing their traditional housing known as “trinh tuong.” In the first technique, houses are entirely made from earth, where clay is carefully chosen and compacted into frames to form the walls. The second technique involves creating bricks from clay using molds, which are then used to build the houses. Notably, unlike modern construction practices, clay serves as both glue and mortar in these traditional houses.

Selecting the ideal location for erecting houses is a challenging task. In line with the feng shui beliefs of the Tay community, it is essential for the houses to face south and be nestled against the mountain, much like the dwellings of the Kinh ethnic group.

The ideal location for building houses should include a generous number of trees, particularly ancient trees. This is due to the extensive knowledge and wisdom of the Tay and Nung communities, who have found that such areas are highly resistant to soil erosion.

The construction of a one-floor “trinh tuong” house requires exceptional skills and expertise. The most challenging aspects involve the consolidation of the foundation and the construction of the pillars. The foundation necessitates careful placement of stones to ensure its stability and durability. Additionally, the four corner pillars, which must withstand significant force, are reinforced with stones before the walls are erected.

In order to ensure that the walls of a Trinh tuong house are waterproof during the rainy season, it is important to carefully and meticulously compress the clay during construction. This will help to create walls that remain waterproof even during consecutive rainy days.

The architectural design of “Trinh tuong” houses provides optimal comfort throughout the seasons, offering warmth in winter and a cool refuge during summer. These houses are crafted with a remarkable resilience to withstand the forces of wind and heat. However, one minor drawback is their susceptibility to becoming moldy during the rainy season due to the prevailing dampness. To address this issue, residents of these houses, particularly the Tay and Nung people, cleverly combat mold by building cooking fires at the heart of their homes. This strategic placement not only ensures warmth but also serves as a preventative measure against mold formation. Nevertheless, the residue and smoke emanating from these fires can accumulate on the walls, imparting a sense of antiquity and an appearance of mossiness to the houses.

Nhà trình tường cổ độc đáo của người Tày, Nùng vùng biên viễn

Huu Khanh Commune, located in Loc Binh District, is renowned for its collection of Trinh Tuong houses that date back approximately 100 years.

Nhà trình tường cổ độc đáo của người Tày, Nùng vùng biên viễn

A residence located in Khuat Xa commune, Loc Binh district, named Trinh Tuong house.

Nhà trình tường cổ độc đáo của người Tày, Nùng vùng biên viễn

Located within the picturesque Dinh Lap district, lies a quaint residence known as the Trinh Tuong House.

Nhà trình tường cổ độc đáo của người Tày, Nùng vùng biên viễn

In Dinh Lap district, numerous villages inhabited by the Tay and Nung ethnic communities proudly maintain their traditional trinh tuong houses.

 
Nhà trình tường cổ độc đáo của người Tày, Nùng vùng biên viễn

A Trinh Tuong House

Nhà trình tường cổ độc đáo của người Tày, Nùng vùng biên viễn
Nhà trình tường cổ độc đáo của người Tày, Nùng vùng biên viễn
Nhà trình tường cổ độc đáo của người Tày, Nùng vùng biên viễn
Nhà trình tường cổ độc đáo của người Tày, Nùng vùng biên viễn
Nhà trình tường cổ độc đáo của người Tày, Nùng vùng biên viễn

The interior of the kitchen in a traditional Trinh Tuong house located in Po Kit Hamlet, Khuat Xa Commune, Loc Binh District.

Nhà trình tường cổ độc đáo của người Tày, Nùng vùng biên viễn

Lang Son is known for its traditional costumes worn by Tay and Nung women which, while not as vibrant as those of other ethnic groups in Vietnam, exude a distinct charm and beauty.

Le Anh Dung