The Hanoitimes - Go sightseeing to Tay Phuong Pagoda, one of the most famous ancient temples of Thach That District, Ha Noi, not only can visitors enjoy the local specialties such as che lam, banh te, but also have the opportunity to admire bamboo souvenirs such as a large variety types of fans, bamboo dragonflies. One of the first artists made bamboo dragonflies here is Nguyen Van Tai.
From Tay Phuong pagoda’s entrance, turning right and continuing straight about 20 meters on a concrete road is Nguyen Van Tai’s home. Tiding up with a huge number of orders from customers in many parts of the country, Tai is still enthusiastic to share with us about the way this profession comes to him.
When he was working as a photographer and carved bamboo tubes as souvenirs selling for tourists sightseeing in Tay Phuong Pagoda in 1999, he saw a man selling bamboo dragonflies but they are ugly, primitive designs, no colors, no patterns. Interested in these bamboo products, he tried to do it himself, and then carried those products out to sell in the entrance of the Pagoda. The initial price is only VND 2,000/product and then upped to VND 5,000/product, the couple was so happy. Then, he gave up the career as a photographer, salesman and switched to produce bamboo dragonflies and other bamboo products, such as turtles, butterflies, and quite a large variety of different designs.
Tai said the first step is to select material. Bamboo, which used to make dragonfly, derives from mountain areas, not too old, not too young. After peeling, drying and cutting, bamboo is shaped and painted deliberately for better products. "My family produces around 15.000-20.000 bamboo animal products per month. No matter how many bamboo products we make, they are sold out quickly with no inventory ever”, Tai said excitedly.
Nguyen Van Tai meticulously makes craft products from bamboo. Photo by Van Thang
Nearly 20 years engaging in the occupation, bamboo dragonflies made by his family are commented as the most beautiful products in the region. There are quite a large number of orders with hundreds of thousands bamboo dragonflies shipping to Saigon, Nha Trang, Nghe An. So interested in the bamboo products does a large amount of foreign tourists seek his home to order those products and bring back their hometown as souvenirs, even sometimes, they have to wait for quite a long time to have these bamboo goods. Tai said that his family's products are now diversely in terms of designs, types, which are not only sold domestically but also reach out to the United States, France, Japan and Sweden.
By skillful hands and creativity, Nguyen Van Tai in Tay Phuong Pagoda village has earned fortune by making bamboo dragonflies. Apart from two main labors in the family, his manufacturing unit also employed 5-10 frequent jobs, or even up to 40 employees at the peak with decent salary. His family’s net income is approximately VND 10 million. With continuous contributions, Nguyen Van Tai had been honor to receive merits from the Vietnam Craft Village Association and the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises Vietnam.
Translated by Van Thang
Source: Hong Van-Kinhtedothi.vn