Rattan and bamboo exhibition in Hanoi Old Quarter

Nga Do
A bamboo and rattan fair was held on April 14th by the Hanoi Old Quarter Management Board. The fair showcased a wide variety of bamboo and rattan products at Kim Ngan Communal House on Hang Bac Street of the Hanoi Old Quarter.

Between  April 14th and May 7th, Kim Ngan Communal House  was transformed into an installation arts space, with lanterns, paintings, vases, baskets, tables, chairs and decorative boats. All were made from bamboo and rattan by talented weavers in Phu Vinh craft village.

Visitors to the exhibition can find information about the handicraft from  Phu Vinh village including its evolution, tools, techniques and its outstanding artisans. Present at the  fair was artisan Nguyen Van Trung who has spent his whole life working as a bamboo and rattan weaver. Trung exhibited different stages of bamboo and rattan weaving and explained the history of the craft. The veteran artisan also shared his  passion for preserving this traditional handicraft.

The village of Phu Vinh, located 35 km from Hanoi downtown, is renowned for its 400 years of traditional rattan handicraft and bamboo weaving. In the past, the villagers made bamboo and rattan baskets, bags and boxes for daily use. However, as the market demand grows,  the villagers improve and develop diverse ornamental fine-art pieces from  rattan and bamboo such as lampshades, curtains, portraits, landscape, etc. Nowadays, each Phu Vinh household becomes a family business.  The labor chain involves the whole family of many generations from  the elderly to young children.

For a product to be completely made, the artisans have to go through complicated stages from raw material selection to processing. Chosen rattan plants are often of 5-meters to be easily split. The plant is then split into fiber which needs to keep straight and avoid being  twisted. After being split, the rattan or bamboo fiber is dyed. The Phu Vinh villagers also have their own secret of making dyeing materials from  organic ingredients.  No chemicals  are applied to make Phu Vinh rattan and bamboo products environmentally friendly, not harmful to human health and of up to 30 – 40 years of durability.

To keep the centuries old craft, the artisans in Phu Vinh village continue searching, creating innovative products basing on modern technologies to preserve and develop the village’s reputation. Material processing has two stages: drying and splitting rattan or bamboo. After that, they will be colored. In order for products with a variety of colors, the Phu Vinh village also has its own secret natural coloring, no chemical to help products of Phu Vinh rattan and bamboo products are always environmentally friendly, not harmful to human health and durability using high color 30 - 40 years.

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