Thuong Cung communal house was built in the early 17th century on the Nhue river bank. It faces the river to the north, a rare direction in Vietnam’s communal house architecture, and remains almost completely intact with features from the Le dynasty.
The structure has three main chambers and two wing chambers with the thatched roof curling on the four corners. The pillars are made of iron, wood and placed on greenstone.
The decorative patterns of dragons, phoenixes, flowers, clouds, and especially human figures, were sophisticatedly carved. The house was extended to accommodate village activities.
Pham Van Nhang, caretaker of Thuong Cung communal house, said, “The house was built in 1637 and has since undergone three restorations between 1687 and 2004. There remain several antiques: three ancient swords, two flamingo statues, eight ornamental weapons, and a pair of golden dragons watching a moon made of canary wood.”
Legend has it that Thuong Cung communal house was a place of worship of three generals of this village, who led ground and marine troops to defeat foreign invaders. On the way back to Thang Long, now Hanoi, the three generals stopped at their home village to offer incense to their ancestors and were deified.
Duong Thi Huy, an old villager, said, “The three generals were deployed by the King to the central region. They chased away the enemies everywhere they went and were worshipped by people living there. There are 72 temples worshipping them in Thuong Cung village and Thanh Hoa, Nam Dinh, and Nghe An province.”
The annual Thuong Cung communal house festival is held in the lunar August. Mrs. Huy elaborated, “The main day of the festival falls on the 11th days of the 8th lunar month. There is a worshiping ritual involving a sorcerer while villagers burn incense and carry their offerings. The next day features a feast and folk art performances.”
Thuong Cung communal house with its precious architectural documents and the well-protected surrounding environment typifies the rural beauty of northern Vietnam.