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Bac Giang: Young artisan blows "soul" into wood

(BGO) - Painting and chiselling wooden slabs is a daily job of Nguyen Van Manh (born in 1994) in Giang Tan village, Thai Son commune (Hiep Hoa district, Bac Giang province). With his talented hands and rich imagination, he has turned inanimate objects into valuable ones and became the owner of a fine art furniture workshop at the age of 19.

Passion leads the way

In 2009, although he was admitted to the 10th grade, Manh asked his parents to come to the Dong Ky craft village (Bac Ninh province) to learn the craft. Several years following the seniors, Manh felt more and more his passion for carving wooden statues. Having carved many Buddha statues measuring more than 3 meters in height and weighing tens of tonnes for many pagodas in other northern provinces, the 9X boss Nguyen Van Manh shared: “Crafting worshipping objects situated in the sacred places so the craftsman must leave his heart and virtue in each statue. I have read a lot of documents on beliefs and religions, so that the carved statue has a soul, expressing the unique nuances of the one who is worshiped ". 

Bac Giang, Young artisan,soul, into wood

The lively wooden rooster is gradually being shaped under the talented hands of Nguyen Van Manh (right).

As for the statues of famous people like President Ho Chi Minh and coach of the national football team Park Hang-seo, I read many books introducing the characters' lives to gain sublimation when performing the works".

With his contributions to the traditional sculpture, in November 2020, Nguyen Van Manh was recognized as an artisan by the Vietnam Craft Villages Association, becoming one of the youngest artisans in the country.

After only 3 years of studying, Manh was quickly recognized by everyone as a talent, many customers from near and far contacted him to place orders. At the end of 2018, he decided to return to his hometown to open a workshop producing fine art furniture.

Rough, ragged wooden slabs and bamboo roots floating on the river, through his talented hands, have been turned into lively statues. Talking about his first work, the 9X boss said: “About 7 years ago, I went to bathe with my friends on the Cau River. When diving, I accidentally touched a strange object. I picked it up. It was an old bamboo root. It took me several days to carve it into a pretty fancy statue. Currently, it is one of the two statues kept in my house as a souvenir”.

Becoming the boss at the age of 19

Talking to the young boss, we learned that it is not easy to make each piece of wood a work of art. First of all, it is necessary to choose perennial precious wood material so that the product is durable with time and can keep the original color for a long time. Depending on the level of sophistication, each statue takes 2 days, or even a month, to make. For example, for the wooden statue depicting the portrait of coach Park Hang-seo when the national football team was reaping a lot of victories, his emotions sublimated, so Manh completed it within only two days.

Bac Giang, Young artisan,soul, into wood

The Statue of Tea God - one of Nguyen Van Manh's products that many customers have ordered.

Some wood cutting stages are now done mechanically, but it still needs artisans’ efforts to make sketches, chisels, trims by hand according to each drawing and emotion.

In addition to the large statues, many small handicrafts featuring grasshoppers, mantis and cicadas are ordered by customers for display. Depending on the size, type of wood, and sophistication, each product has a different price.

The carpentry came to Manh as a predestination. In addition to providing him with job and income, it also helps him satisfy his passion, contributing to honoring artistic values in life. Now, the 27-year-old boss has in the hands a fine art furniture workshop that brings in a stable income. Wishing to share beautiful products with friends, each finished product is captured by him and promoted on his Facebook page. So many customers from Bac Giang and other localities such as Son La, Hanoi, Hai Duong and Lam Dong have contacted him to order his works.

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Mai Toan

Bac Giang, Young artisan,soul, into wood
 
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