When it was founded in 1700, Phu Vinh village was called Phu Hoa Trang, which means “endowed with manual dexterity”. In 1800 the name Phu Hoa Trang was changed to Phu Vinh.
Everyone in the village, young or old, man or woman, weaves rattan and bamboo. It has been in their blood for generations.
Luu Duy Dan, President of the Vietnam Craft Villages Association, says the craft has been handed down from father to son, adding: “There are many bamboo and rattan craft villages but Phu Vinh-branded products are considered works of art.”
In the past, every household in the village was involved in the craft. Now only about 90% of the villagers follow the trade, but Phu Vinh artisans have spread the craft to 12 other provinces and cities in Vietnam.
The village has 8 artisans who are nationally recognized. Among the nationally famous villagers, Nguyen Van Khieu, who was born in 1905 and died in l983, is the most famous. He was the first artisan to weave a rattan portrait of President Ho Chi Minh.
His son Nguyen Van Tinh said “My father was one of the first 9 bamboo and rattan craftsmen to be conferred the official title of artisan in 1961. He met President Ho Chi Minh in person.”
Phu Vinh Village is known for producing art-quality bamboo and rattan products in a dizzying array of types and designs: household furniture and decorations, as well as souvenirs and gift items such as rattan portraits, horizontal lacquered boards, and parallel sentences.
Mr. Tinh said “Phu Vinh village is famous for the quality, skill, and technique exhibited by its sophisticated rattan and bamboo products. We have unique designs for special Tet celebration products. No other village can match these designs.”
Long experience combined with creativity has won Phu Vinh products awards at competitions, trade fairs, and exhibitions. A number of craftsmen from the village have been invited to give demonstrations abroad.
Artisan Nguyen Van Trung said “In 1980 I won a gold medal at a competition in the Soviet Union for creative youths of socialist countries. My entry was a rattan picture of the Volga River. In 1982, I was asked to provide vocational training in Cuba, Laos, and Angola. I once presented the French Prime Minister a rattan picture of downtown Hanoi. Each year Phu Vinh village earns more than US$1.3 million from exports, mainly to Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, and European countries.”