Kim Ngan communal house was built by Luu Xuan Tin, the minister of personnel under the reign of King Le Thanh Tong in the 15 century, who settled his villagers from Chau Khe village, Hai Duong province in the capital to cast silver artifacts for the court.
During Gia Long reign in the 19th century, the people of Chau Khe expanded their communal house. With an area of nearly 600 m2, Kim Ngan communal house is fairly large compared to other communal housesin the compacted and densely populated Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
2. Since 2011, ca tru singing performances have taken place regularly every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evenings.
Kim Ngan communal house’s comprised of various structures, including: Nghi Mon (ceremonial gate), yard, Dai Bai (ceremonial chamber), Hau Cung (back chamber) designed in the letter 工 (gong) shape of Chinese character. Dai Bai or the ceremonial chamber has 3 compartments while the Hau Cung or the back chamber consists of 3 compartments which is elevated with an altar and separated from the rest of the structure by screens. The ceremonial chamber and the back chamber are connected by a corridor covered with a double roof. The upper roof layer separated from the second roof layer by spindle bars to allow natural light and ventilation.
The communal house also retains the fine carvings of the ancient carpenters, bricklayers and jewelers. The carvings are what distinguish Kim Ngan communal house from the rest which worship guild founders in the Old Quarter.
Chau Khe craftsmen once made silver ingots for the court at Trang Duc (present-day the house located at No.58 Hang Bac). They received silver and delivered ingots to the representative of the court at Kim Ngan communal house (No. 42 Hang Bac) and Truong Thi communal house (No.50 Hang Bac).
In addition to silver casting, people here had also conducted currency exchange until the French colonial time in the early 20th century. Silver casting craft came to its end in the early 19th century, when King Gia Long moved the capital to Hue in central Vietnam. Chau Khe craftsmen turned themselves into jewelers.
Apart from being valuable in history, architecture, and prayer venue, Kim Ngan communal house is also an interesting cultural address for tourists coming to Hanoi. In mid 2011, Kim Ngan communal house became a venue for cultural and artistic activities when it was chosen as a meeting place for lovers of Ca tru singing. Regular performances take place every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evenings.
In addition to cultural activities, Kim Ngan communal house also becomes a place for exchanging experiences on the trade and organizing folk arts and cultural activities contributing to the promotion of tangible and intangible cultural values of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. It also aims to honor the traditional craft of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and raise the awareness of people in preserving and promoting the traditional cultural values and characteristics of ancient guild streets.