Visiting gold-leaf village in Hanoi
VietNamNet Bridge – Kieu Ky Village in the Gia Lam District of Hanoi is well-known for its gold-leaf making and it is also the only village in Vietnam adept at this craft.
Works made from pure gold.
Special works by Kieu Ky craftsmen.
Thin gold leaf.
As visitors arrive at the village gate, they will hear sound of hammers. A local skilled craftsman can use 3.75 grammes of gold to make a sheet of gold covering one square metre.
The gold lamination of famous sites in Hanoi has also been adorned by the village’s craftsmen.
The ancestor of the gold lamination in Kieu Ky Village known to be Nguyen Quy Tri, who was born in Hoi Xuyen Village, Lieu Trai Commune, Hai Duong Province. In 1763, he was sent to China as the king’s envoy and he learnt the gold making craft from Chinese people. After returning home, he taught the industry to people in Kieu Ky Village.
The village was quite near Thang Long Citadel, so it was convenient for local people to practise the work on the buildings of the imperial palace as well as temples and pagodas.
The gold-making process requires complex skill, and craftsmen must be very careful and patient. In the past, Kieu Ky saw the strong development of the craft and supplied golf leaf for most of imperial palace’s work, such as the throne and horizontal lacquered boards.
Gold and silver were put into a clay pot and heated on a pit with its bellows controlled by hand until the material comes to the melting point. Then, the material is poured into a small slot, to become bullions of 10cm long.
Afterwards, craftsmen pound the bullion to make them to become thin gold leaves with width of 1cm. The gold leaf is then cut into small pieces of 1cm2 in size and put on Quy Leaf which has the 4-cm side and made from Do paper, which is used to make Dong Ho fold paintings in Bac Ninh Province. The paper is mixed with ink to help make the Quy Leaf firm and solid.
After put on Quy Leaf, craftsmen use hammers to pound the pieces to make them thin.
Next, the gold piece is cut into 12 small sections each of which continues to be made into much thinner. The final stage, when the product is to be handed over to customer, must be carried out in a closed room.
Kieu ky is the only place in Vietnam where this craft is carried out. Each day, local craftsmen have pound around several kilogrammes of gold.