The once-famous village in Hanoi where people got rich with embroidery products

Nguyen Bi Village in Quat Dong in Hanoi was once a well-known embroidery craft village which produced high-quality embroidery products for sale the export market

The village is 20 kilometers from the center of Hanoi. In the past, it was one of five villages where Le Cong Hanh, a mandarin of Later Le Dynasty, passed down embroidery skills.

The once-famous village in Hanoi where people got rich with embroidery products

Le Dai Nghiep from Nguyen Bi Village

In the early 20th century, the most prosperous period of the village, many businesspeople traded silk and embroidery for export.

“My family has been making embroidery for many generations. In the 1920s of the last century, my grandfather traded embroidered paintings and silk fabric throughout Southeast Asia,” said Le Dai Nghiep, a resident in Nguyen Bi Village.

Nguyen Bi Village had two groups of people. The first traded embroidery, while the second embroidered for traders, who had better lives. They had money to build houses and buy land.

In the 1920-1930s, many traders thrived. They bought houses in the central area of Hanoi, on Hang Ngang, Hang Dao and Hang Khay streets.

Nghiep’s grandfather went to Singapore to sell embroidery. He built a business network there while his wife stayed in Vietnam and did field work.

He sent money and gold to Vietnam to his wife to raise the children and accumulate land. His family was among the well-off households in the village.

“My grandmother said that he usually sent big parcels, including utensils, gold and money,” Nghiep said.

Nguyen Bi Village in Quat Dong in Hanoi was once a well-known embroidery craft village which produced high-quality embroidery products for sale the export market

In 1936, because of certain events, his grandfather returned to Vietnam and only traded in Vietnam.

In that period, many spacious houses made of ironwood and solid houses arose in the village.

Though Nghiep’s grandfather was a trader, he still maintained the embroidery career and passed it down to children and grandchildren.

Nghiep’s father was head of the embroidery division of the Hanoi Fine Arts Import-Export Company headquartered on Hang Khay street in Hoan Kiem district.

In 1976-1980, he was sent to HCM City to develop embroidery there.

In 1980, Vietnam exported embroidered products (bedsheets, kimonos, or a kind of night dress) to the former Soviet Union in large quantities. Nghiep’s father cooperated with the owners of fabric shops who had relatives in Russia.

Nghiep’s father received large fabric rolls from the shop owners, cut the fabric into clothes, and embroidered the clothes.

“My father told me to draw embroidery patterns. The patterns need to be beautiful, but must not be too difficult, so that small embroidery shops could do this,” he recalled.

 

The embroidered products were exported. “The demand was very high and our family members were always busy. I hired a lot of workers,” he said.

Nghiep’s wife, 64, was also an embroiderer. When she was 19 years old, she taught embroidery in many other provinces.

Their children were prosperous in their business, and have lived in other countries. Because of health conditions, however, they have not continued the career. Nghiep said that he still loves the craft, especially because it brought prosperity to his family.

When the country's doi moi (renovation) period began, embroidery could no longer bring big money as exports to Russia stopped. Nghiep and his wife shifted to another business field.

After witnessing golden days, the traditional craft has been regressing. According to Thai Duc Duy, a craftsman, there are only three households in the village that still make hand embroidery. Other people have given up the career because of low income.

The once-famous village in Hanoi where people got rich with embroidery products

The emrboidery products created by Thai Duc Duy

It takes several days to one month to complete an embroidery product. Meanwhile, the product is sold at from VND50,000 to VND200,000 only.

The low income, plus the flooding of cross-stitched embroideries sourced from China, has discouraged local people to continue the career. Young people often leave the village for cities where they find jobs in companies. The number of embroiderers is now so modest that it ‘can be counted on one’s fingers’.

People in the village said that when the old craftsmen pass away, there will be no one to continue the traditional career.

Duy said his family members have been embroiderers for many generations. When he went to preschool, he embroidered his first stitches. When he was in seventh grade, he embroidered products for export.

As an adult, he has been developing his work, and his products have unique characteristics, expressing his personality as well as the high skill of the profession.

His embroidery has won many prizes at competitions. He also teaches embroidery at vocational schools.

He said embroiderers need to be clever with their hands, have artistic talent, and good professional skills and experience. A beautiful hand-embroidered picture requires a variety of threads of different colors, sizes and materials.

Duy, with the wish to preserve the traditional career, teaches embroidery every summer. However, most students just learn for fun, and there are very few people who want to continue the career.

Duy, whose his health is getting worse, said that he feels sad that few people want to work in this traditional career. 

Thai Minh

Hanoi’s handicraft village promotes beauty of Vietnamese Ao Dai

Hanoi’s handicraft village promotes beauty of Vietnamese Ao Dai

Trach Xa Village in Ung Hoa suburban district of Hanoi is famous for the craft of tailor-made Ao Dai (Vietnamese traditional long dresses), an epitome of Vietnamese culture.

Hoi An reopens pedestrian streets and craft villages

Hoi An reopens pedestrian streets and craft villages

Hoi An, home to one of the nation’s most famous UNESCO world heritage sites, has reopened its pedestrian streets, night streets, and craft villages following several months of closure due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and flooding.

 
 

Other News

.
13th National Party Congress: Hanoi, HCM City aim for digital government
13th National Party Congress: Hanoi, HCM City aim for digital government
FEATUREicon  28/01/2021 

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City both plan to develop synchronous, inter-connected digital, IT, and data infrastructure, creating a foundation for digital economic and social development.

UNESCO expert: Vietnam education reform on right path, recommends better allocation of funds
UNESCO expert: Vietnam education reform on right path, recommends better allocation of funds
FEATUREicon  28/01/2021 

Dominique Altner, Senior Program Specialist at IIEP (International Institute for Educational Planning), spoke to VietnamNet about the development of Vietnam’s education system in the last five years.

Two resolutions for reform
Two resolutions for reform
FEATUREicon  28/01/2021 

The Government has issued Resolutions 01 and 02, showing the spirit of reform and steadfast effort over the years to remove barriers in the business environment, helping people and businesses to thrive.

Digital transformation to contribute 25% of HCM City's GRDP by 2025
Digital transformation to contribute 25% of HCM City's GRDP by 2025
FEATUREicon  27/01/2021 

By 2025, digital transformation will contribute 25% of HCM City's gross regional domestic product (GRDP), said Chairman of HCM City People's Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong.

Wind, solar power sees new boom
Wind, solar power sees new boom
FEATUREicon  27/01/2021 

Many wind and solar power projects are awaiting approval to be added to the list of projects to be developed under the national power development plan.

Vietnam shows its 'firm stuff' after five years of difficulties
Vietnam shows its 'firm stuff' after five years of difficulties
FEATUREicon  26/01/2021 

The US-China trade war, Brexit, the US withdrawal from TPP, Covid-19 and internal difficulties all have affected Vietnam’s economy in the last five years.

Long-term development commitments realised through strategic M&A moves
Long-term development commitments realised through strategic M&A moves
FEATUREicon  25/01/2021 

A potential rise in mergers and acquisitions is sparking concerns that local firms will lose competitiveness by selling themselves to foreign investors.

Reshuffle underway to further stimulate revival of economy
Reshuffle underway to further stimulate revival of economy
FEATUREicon  23/01/2021 

The 13th National Party Congress is expected to set the country’s average annual growth rate of 6.5-7 per cent from now until 2025, when Vietnam may become a higher middle-income nation. 

Tech giants building on ICT potential
Tech giants building on ICT potential
FEATUREicon  23/01/2021 

Vietnam’s ICT market is expected to see a big 5G race in 2021 as international tech giants look to boost partnerships with local telcos to gain more advantages, driven by strong performances in Vietnam in 2020.

American corporations relocate to Vietnam as costs rise in other locations
American corporations relocate to Vietnam as costs rise in other locations
FEATUREicon  26/01/2021 

Vietnam has recently received many large global groups, led by US technology firms, that have brought production chains with capital of up to billions of dollars.

Real estate bond interest rates are too high, say experts
Real estate bond interest rates are too high, say experts
FEATUREicon  25/01/2021 

The HCM City Real Estate Association (HOREA), in its report about the real estate market in 2020 and prospects in 2021, says the real estate bond market will continue to grow well this year.

Vietnamese engineer works on vaccine patch, high-tech face mask
Vietnamese engineer works on vaccine patch, high-tech face mask
FEATUREicon  23/01/2021 

After inventing a biological mask with outstanding features, Dr Nguyen Duc Thanh, winner of many prestigious awards, and his co-workers are working on vaccine patches.

Flower villages still waiting for Tet buyers
Flower villages still waiting for Tet buyers
FEATUREicon  22/01/2021 

Farmers in flower villages in HCM City are worried as merchants have not contacted them yet for Tet sale season.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment announces top 10 events
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment announces top 10 events
FEATUREicon  21/01/2021 

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha has signed a decision announcing the top 10 events of the sector last year. Below are the selected events.

Stock market plummets, $10 billion lost
Stock market plummets, $10 billion lost
FEATUREicon  21/01/2021 

The Vietnamese stock market saw an unprecedented plunge on January 19. But panic did not occur.

74-year-old man helps Saigonese cope with floods by clearing canals
74-year-old man helps Saigonese cope with floods by clearing canals
FEATUREicon  24/01/2021 

During heavy rains and high tides, a 74-year-old man in HCM City often picks up trash and clears sewer pipes. One day, when trying to collect garbage, he was swept away by water and almost lost his life.

Architect warns Thu Duc City needs thorough planning, from strategy to implementation
Architect warns Thu Duc City needs thorough planning, from strategy to implementation
FEATUREicon  21/01/2021 

Ngo Viet Nam Son, a respected architect, said Thu Duc City needs methodical planning to avoid becoming just a huge real estate project.

Young PhD promotes organ donation registration to save lives
Young PhD promotes organ donation registration to save lives
FEATUREicon  21/01/2021 

With his health and job in good condition, a young lecturer at the HCM City University of Forestry and Agriculture with a doctorate registered to donate his organs after death to convey the message that ‘giving is forever existing’.

Vietnam vows to control digital technology powerhouses
Vietnam vows to control digital technology powerhouses
FEATUREicon  20/01/2021 

How to force cross-border social networks to observe the laws of the host countries is a challenge not only for Vietnam but for all countries.

Volunteers for vaccine trial: if people are overcome by fear, the vaccines won’t succeed
Volunteers for vaccine trial: if people are overcome by fear, the vaccines won’t succeed
FEATUREicon  20/01/2021 

“If everyone just sits and waits and no one dares to get a vaccine injection trial, the vaccine won't be successful,” said one of the first three volunteers in the Nanocovax vaccine trial.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN