Dong Xam Village is located in Thai Binh Province, about 130km from Hanoi city’s center. It is one of 3 places well-known for the silver carving craft, together with Hang Bac Street and Dinh Cong village in Hanoi.
The silver carving craft in Dong Xam village has existed since the 15th century. Legend has it that in 1428, Nguyen Kim Lau, a man from Chau Bao Lac (modern day Cao Bang province), traveled downstream on the Tra Ly River to earn his living and then went on to transfer his silver carving skills to the local people in Dong Xam.
At first, villagers welded bronze items such as moulded buckets or basins, sharpened knives or scissors, and repaired locks. The locals then progressed into the art of silver and bronze carvings.
The village’s heyday was when Dong Xam artisans brought the craft to the nation as a whole. During the Nguyen dynasty in the 19th and early 20th century, they went to the ancient capital of Hue to carve the imperial palace and to craft jewelry for the royal court.
The Dong Xam artisans, in conjunction with silversmiths in Chau Khe village in Hai Duong province, and Dinh Cong village in Hanoi, were the founders of the famous Hang Bac Silver Street in Hanoi. There are approximately 150 silver carving workshops in Dong Xam village currently.
Silver carving requires one to be meticulous and accurate, while the crafts people need a high degree of qualification. Dong Xam’s unique silver products are characterized by strange aesthetic styles, such as cube like appearance as well as sophisticated and well-proportioned decorations, requiring a delicate touch and well honed skills.
To remember the progenitor Kim Lau’s contributions to the village, Dong Xam Temple was built. The Dong Xam Temple Festival is held annually from the 1st to 5th day of the 4th lunar month.