Knife village retains traditional craft

Phuc Sen village in the northern province of Cao Bang is not a place first-time visitors might want to stay long, as the noise may come as a shock.

Knife village retains traditional craft hinh anh 1


That noise is the sound of thousands of knives,of all shapes and sizes, being made each year by about 350 blacksmiths of the Nung ethnic minority.


During the day the village is filled with thesounds of workers beating and hammering steel as they forge knives usingtraditional techniques and recycled materials.

“We have been doing this job since mygrandparents’ time, and I don’t remember exactly when it started,” said58-year-old Long Anh Chien.

“We get steel from the shock absorbers of usedcars to make the knives,” he added.

Legend has it that the craft was first startedin the village about 200 years ago.

Nowadays some 200 households in Phuc Sen earn aliving forging knives.

An experienced blacksmith can make 4-5 knives aday, a less experienced one 3-4, Chien said.

Chien started learning to make knives when hewas 15. When he grew up he left the village to work elsewhere, but returned andtook up the traditional craft in 1998.

“I’ve done a lot of jobs but they were allunstable. This job does not pay as much as others, but it gives me something todo every day and a stable income,” he said.

“There are 12 workers in my workshop, dividedinto four groups of three. Each group is responsible for producing aspecific type of product. Knives, hammers, hoes, and rakes. Tools that serveagricultural production and domestic use.

“A senior blacksmith earns 15-20 millionVND (650-860 USD) a month. Those with less experience get 9-15 million VND permonth.”

 
Knife village retains traditional craft hinh anh 2

Knives are made and sold in Phuc Sen village, Cao Bang province


Despite the stable income, Chien said the job requires a lot of hard work and the mastery of emotions to do it well.

“With this job we all work 10 hours a day, not eight like other jobs. Ten hours and a lot of effort, technique and skill,” he said.

“A blacksmith has to be both aggressive andcalm. That’s what’s special about this job. If you’re being aggressive all thetime your products will all go to waste. If you’re calm all the time and doeverything slowly, the products will also not turn out well.

“Because the temperatures of fire fluctuate and decrease quickly. You have to be very quick to take advantage of the heat, that’s when your high temper comes into use. But then when you shape the knives you have to be very calm. Very calm and careful, otherwise your knives will notbe sharp.”

There are different steps to make a knife butLong Anh Minh, 47, said there are four major ones.

“The first step of making a knife is to choosethe steel. Then you temper the steel. Then you forge the knife, which is the most important step. The more carefully you do it, the higher quality your knife will be. Then you hone and shape it,” he said.

“The knives might be made from the same steel,but during the forging process, the longer you beat and hammer the knife, themore refined it will be since all the impurities have left.”

With some 20 years of experience in the trade,Minh said what makes Phuc Sen knives special is the manual forging process.

“I visited other knife village s and saw theblacksmiths there, while still using scrap steel from used cars like us, they use machines a lot and skip the manual steps when making the knives,” he said.

“Their knives might be sharp at first, but notfor long. How long the knife stays sharp depends on the manual forgingprocess.”

Requiring a lot of physical strength, makingknives may seem to be a job for men. But Minh’s wife helps him with themajority of the work, and he said he wants to pass the job on to his childrenand keep the traditional craft alive.

He said: “I live on the land where this craftwas born, so my entire family helps each other out.

“My children might not be old and strong enoughto forge knives, but they can help with small work. Like shaping the knives, which do not require much physical strength.

“This is a traditional job passed down to usfrom our ancestors. I hope my children will gradually take up the craft when they grow up.”/.VNA

 
 

Other News

.
Artists nationwide raise funds to support the needy in HCM City
Artists nationwide raise funds to support the needy in HCM City
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  16/08/2021 

An exhibition showcasing art works by more than 100 painters and sculptors across Vietnam is being held virtually to raise funds to support needy people in HCM City.

Chinese swimming expert, Huang Guohui, dies in quarantine
Chinese swimming expert, Huang Guohui, dies in quarantine
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  16/08/2021 

Chinese swimming coach, Huang Guohui, of the Vietnamese national swimming team died in quarantine after returning from the Tokyo Olympics.

Miniatures helping popularise Vietnamese culture
Miniatures helping popularise Vietnamese culture
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  16/08/2021 

Vietnamese culture has been nudged closer to domestic and foreign friends through life-like palm-sized miniatures of groceries, food carts, local dishes, barber shops, and even iconic tourist attractions made by young people around the country.

TV series themed Covid-19 pandemic broadcast
TV series themed Covid-19 pandemic broadcast
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  15/08/2021 

The TV series “For a Peaceful Tomorrow” shows how Vietnamese families deal with the pandemic in daily lives.

Thuy Tien represents Vietnam at Miss Grand International 2021
Thuy Tien represents Vietnam at Miss Grand International 2021
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  14/08/2021 

Nguyen Thuc Thuy Tien, one of the Top 5 contestants of Miss Vietnam 2018 and Vietnamese representative at Miss International 2018 pageant, will compete at Miss Grand International 2021.

Bringing life to recycled materials
Bringing life to recycled materials
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  15/08/2021 

Recycling has become a growing trend, particularly at a time when many are practicing a slow pace of living amidst COVID-19. 

Ministry approves project on digitalising Vietnamese festivals
Ministry approves project on digitalising Vietnamese festivals
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  14/08/2021 

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) has approved a project on digitalising all types of Vietnamese festivals for the 2021-2025 period. They involve traditional and cultural ones, industry festivals, and those of foreign origin.

Artists join hands in online coronavirus concert
Artists join hands in online coronavirus concert
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  14/08/2021 

A line-up of artists from Hanoi and HCM City will gather to perform in an online concert to show the importance of joining hands in the fight against the COVID pandemic, on Sunday night.

From flirt to feminist: a cheo opera revitalised
From flirt to feminist: a cheo opera revitalised
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  13/08/2021 

For centuries, the role of Thị Mầu in Vietnam’s most famous cheo opera Quan Âm Thị Kính (Goddess of Mercy) has been as a flirtatious woman.

Vietnam remain ahead of Thailand in latest FIFA rankings
Vietnam remain ahead of Thailand in latest FIFA rankings
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  13/08/2021 

The Vietnamese national men’s football team finished 92nd globally in the latest FIFA rankings for August, leaving local rivals Thailand far behind and staying atop Southeast Asia.

Vietnam to face only two rivals in AFC U23 Asian Cup 2022 qualifiers
Vietnam to face only two rivals in AFC U23 Asian Cup 2022 qualifiers
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  12/08/2021 

Vietnam will have to compete against only Myanmar and Chinese Taipei in Group I of the AFC U23 Asian Cup 2022 qualifiers following a redraw at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on August 11.

Vietnamese stories retold through the lens of Czech photographer
Vietnamese stories retold through the lens of Czech photographer
VIETNAM & WORLDicon  11/08/2021 

The daily life of Vietnamese families in the Czech Republic is featured at an exhibition in Plzeň City that is located nearly 80km from Prague.

Vietnam team overcome challenges for Tokyo Paralympics
Vietnam team overcome challenges for Tokyo Paralympics
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  11/08/2021 

A 15-strong contingent from Vietnam Team has been putting in place the final touches for the Tokyo Paralympics Games.

Culture ministry promotes online performances amid COVID-19 pandemic
Culture ministry promotes online performances amid COVID-19 pandemic
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  11/08/2021 

An audience-free art programme was broadcast on Vietnam National Television (VTV) last month as restrictions on COVID-19 have been tightened. This is a part of an online theatre programme conducted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Foreign DJ in HCMC plays music on balcony for neighbors
Foreign DJ in HCMC plays music on balcony for neighbors
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  11/08/2021 

A DJ in HCM City brought his musical instruments to his balcony to play music for free for his neighbors during the current difficult time of social distancing.

Local movies to be showcased at international film festivals
Local movies to be showcased at international film festivals
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  10/08/2021 

Two Vietnamese film projects are due to participate in the 24th Asian Project Market as part of the upcoming Busan International Film Festival 2021, which is scheduled to run from October 12 - 14 in the Republic of Korea.

Art programmes planned to boost people’s spirits amid pandemic
Art programmes planned to boost people’s spirits amid pandemic
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  10/08/2021 

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism plans to hold art programmes that aim to encourage people to surmount the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vietnamese athletes with disabilities to compete in three sports at Tokyo Paralympics
Vietnamese athletes with disabilities to compete in three sports at Tokyo Paralympics
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  10/08/2021 

Vietnamese athletes with disabilities will compete in three sports, namely weightlifting, swimming and athletics, at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

A house of memories in Ha Long City
A house of memories in Ha Long City
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  12/08/2021 

Hundreds of typical items of rich families in the past have been collected by a man in Ha Long City in Quang Ninh province.

Vietnamese female shuttler promoted in BWF rankings after positive Olympic run
Vietnamese female shuttler promoted in BWF rankings after positive Olympic run
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  10/08/2021 

Vietnamese shuttler Nguyen Thuy Linh enjoyed a promotion for the women's singles category in the latest world rankings issued by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on August 3.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN