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A skillful silversmith in Na Sam

TQO - Chuc Ta Quyen shared that, local people in Na Sam Village, Son Phu Commune, Na Hang District consider silver jewelry as the soul of ancestors. Without silver, the Dao people are like lost deer, stranded fish and forget their origin.

The copper ring and the promise

Chuc Ta Quyen, a silversmith in Na Sam.

Chuc Ta Quyen started his career when he was 15 years old. Although he was born in a family irrelevant in silver carving, he was always impressed by the patterns on silver products of the Dao people. That motivation was inspired by a fateful meeting with a young girl in the neighbouring village.

Those were the first days Chuc Ta Quyen followed his silversmith teacher to the market in Trung Khanh Commune. In a small corner, the boy diligently apprenticed. The bustling atmosphere of the market and the laughter of people did not bother the young boy. That image made the young girl Trieu Thi Tong flutter. The beautiful girl took the initiative to make friend with him. In a short time, the two sat together and talked passionately.

The love bracelet of Chu Ta Quyen and Trieu Thi Tong.

At the end of the market, Tong was given the first small copper ring which was made by Quyen. She expressed her interest, admiring and complimenting his product.

"At that time, I was very happy. I decided to learn to be a good silversmith and make all silver jewelry for my love", Quyen said.

That promise quickly came true. Two years later, the Chuc family brought offerings to ask to marry the girl Trieu Thi Tong. Silver necklaces, bracelets, rings, 'xa tich' (a kind of women's jewelry) sparkle like proof of the promise of love, showing the young husband's silver smithing skill.

Each pattern is a story

After many years, the beautiful love and the first love objects are always preserved by Chuc Ta Quyen and Trieu Thi Tong. Sitting next to her husband, Tong smiled and shared that everyone in the hamlet always appreciates silversmith.

When looking at the delicate patterns on the jewelry of the Dao, most people think that silversmith must possess a sophisticated and complicated set of tools. However, the Dao silver carvers only have simple items such as blowers, hammers, wooden anvils, etc.

His silver carving tools.

Quyen shared that, H'mong, Nung, Cao Lan, and Dao people possess silver carving profession. Most of the ethnic groups have similarities in the first stages, which is processing silver materials through the blower. The steps are all about cooking silver, pouring the silver liquid into the trough, waiting for it to cool, and then using a hammer to beat it.

What is different and makes a unique feature in silver carving of each ethnic group is the process of carving patterns on silver material. This is an important step in creating the soul of each piece of jewelry.

The silver flowers are delicately carved.

On the silver carvings of the Red Dao people, artisans often use textures and patterns bearing the appearance of nature. Artists have to use their creative minds and aesthetic eyes to carve patterns like telling stories on jewelry. If it is a marriage engagement offering, the bracelet and necklace are engraved with fish motifs with the meaning of connecting the bride and groom to live a happy life together. Women's silver earrings are carved with stylized flowers, rings often have fern motifs, buttons are patterned with chives, melon seeds, palm leaves, etc.

His silver products.

Today, although everything is following the trend of mechanization, he is still passionate and loyal to handmade silver carving. He is afraid that this profession will be lost, so he will help and teach enthusiastically anyone who wants to learn to be silversmith.

Giang Lam

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