Phuoc Tich Ancient Village, Hue

Lying silently next to ancient 500- year-old Hue, the ancient village of Phuoc Tich is just known by few people. On the first day or March 2003, the excursion group of Vietnam Architect Association to visit Hue suddenly changed their tour to monuments and tombs with a journey to local villages and happened to “meet” Phuoc Tich.

 Associate Professor- Doctor- Architect Hoang Dao Kinh uttered when he first came to this village, “I am really astonished seeing an ancient to Vietnamese. I see to many girders still surviving sunlight, rains and even poverty n a wonderful way”. This discovery was even com –pared to the discovery of Hoi An in the 1980s of the 20th century.

Phuoc Tich Ancient Village, Hue

Phuoc Tich Ancient Village, Hue

Located on the bank of O Lau river, Phuoc Tich village, Phong Dien commune attracts many people come here. Phuoc Tich is far about 30 kilometers from center of Hue city to the North; the village has famous for pottery. Now, tourists from whole nation come to Phuoc Tich in order to contemplate ‘ruong’ houses with 500 years old. People not only know the trail of Champa ancient pottery – kiln is preserved by local peple but also enjoy the beautiful nature.

Older than Hue Imperial City as well as the royal monuments and palaces, Phuoc Tich village is more than 500 years old. The quantity of ancient houses is not high (27/117 house) but most houses in the village are more than 100 years old. Nowadays the village has two oldest houses whose ages are 200-300 years old. They are considered the most ancient ones of 1.000 ancient houses in Hue and its 6 neighborhood districts. In the village, hamlets are linked with each other by a system of beam manors: therefore, Phuoc Tich also has another name “village of beam manors”

Beam manors in Phuoc Tinh are mainly made of breadfruit wood, exquisite with many lively decoration vignettes and meticulous carvings on frames. Most parts are not damaged although many wars passed. Interior includes many parallel sentences, horizontal lacquered board, wooden scrolls, a plank bed, furniture, and old altar wardrobe. Different from beam manors in South Vietnam, beam manors in Hue are less than 3m high, very cool in summer and cozy in winter. Looking at moss tile roofs slightly bending down under the heaviness of time, old brick ground, wind guard screen, old well…visitors may think that every thing placed in “Phuoc Tich ancient house” still remains unchanged like its early days.

“The structure and space of Phuoc Tinh village are considered typical for Vietnamese resident model in Northern of Central Vietnam. That s an open structure with houses located in a garden. In Phuoc Tich, the architecture s ancient and old but the scenery and surrounding gardens are very young and lively” (Architect Hoang Dao Kinh)

I walked on a green shaded road. Every tens of meters, I see an ancient beam manor that separated with another one by a green line of Chinese tea tree instead of wall, which beautifies the path and creates a rare green charm. Going snide, surrounding the manor is a wide green garden with many kinds of fruit trees that are enough for fruit supply n all seasons: fig tree, breadfruit, vegetables; tangerine, ocrea, flacourtia for betel chewing; carambola, peach, mangos teen for the ancient village all year round.

In the olden time, the entire village do pottery handicraft. Pottery here is made from the good quality soil in Dien Khanh Quang Tri and the Water of O Lau River. The pottery has no enamel, so it is called soil pottery primitive, few vignettes, simple but naturally beautiful. It is mainly used as domestic containers because it can withstand temperature up to 1.0000C. The villagers often call it Dooc Dooc which means “soil items” There are totally 13 prone furnaces and 20supine furnace, which is bigger, is the contribution by many families to produce a large quantity of Dooc Dooc. At the time, all products were sold out. Trade was active in land and on rivers; boasts and ships from Nghe An, Quang Tri, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Quy Nhon, and South Vietnam all sailed here to buy pottery.

In the Nguyen Dynasty, the pottery handicraft of this village had developed prosperously, so the king ordered 30 om per month, which were made from the best quality clay, formed on a special places. Om is a kind of pot used to cook a fragrant kind of rice named de An Cuu or to cook with brine the famous. The gudgeons, which only lives in Huong River. People will break the om after cooking, never cook with it the second time because the delicious taste caused by the village’s burnt soil will decrease. Since then, the village is renown by the entire royal court with the “Om Ngu” (King’s Pot) or “Ngoc Om Ngu Dung” (Gem Pot For King’s Use)

Today, the pottery handicraft no longer exists. The trace of Tren dune with many supine furnaces s many ancient pieces of terracotta and ancient pieces of terracotta and ancient pottery furnaces hidden in immense wild grass. Many keepsakes alone such as lu, hu, om trach, sieu,… (Pottery containers of different sizes) are still being preserved by families here as souvenirs of “A glory time”
The notion “Village Workshop 2003 has proven, “The time can erase everything but where there is human seed is still a living cell, a actual living body. A vestige can become a heritage by the hands, brain and heart of human”

Wandering around an old pottery furnace, I wonder if the pottery handicraft can resuscitate here. Afternoon comes, the agitate old eyes of an old lady are looking at me as if they said. “Return soon, son”

Return here on some day. Walk on your own around the village in a noon full of colorful yellow summer sunlight, in an afternoon with chilly rain and wind, you will find this place full of memories about the past of human, houses, village…which is glistening and mysterious.

Phuoc Tich Ancient Village, Hue

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