From a distant view, Tang Tien village is looming under bamboo hedges, mixing into green fields flooded with sunlight. The old village lane takes you to houses with mossy tiles and to famous master craftspeople on the Cau riverside.
Indigenous to the countryside of the Northern Delta area, two kinds of bamboo called Giang (ampelocalamus patellaris) and Nua (neohouzeana dulloa) are very much a part of the lives of the villagers. Nothing is so flexible and soft as neohouzeoura string, and nothing is so familiar with villagers as are baskets, screens… but how to split the dexterous string of those bamboos is an art of Tang Tien, a commune belonging to Viet Yen district, Bac Giang province.
Distinguished from other craft villages, the Tang Tien people concentrate on improving only their traditional products such as baskets and screens from generation to generation. The young generation accumulated the most quintessence from the previous generation, and then continued to make creative progress for better products. As for their concentration only on traditional products, Tang Tien dominates the niche of nice quality baskets. If you come to Tang Tien today, you will find interesting attractions in the form of all kinds of baskets even from the simplest one. Under the talented hands of Tang Tien villagers, bamboo splints are so smooth regardless of the bark or core parts, big or small, and the quality is consistent in any household able to make the same nice baskets of a light green and soft fragrance of natural bamboo.
When visitors are enjoying the lively scene whereby all members of the family from the old, the children, and the young are weaving expertly in the eaves, next to a small yard full of baskets laid for sun drying, you will probably pay attention to the clattering coming from somewhere. Yes, that is the sound emanating from the manual looms of the Tang Tien people. Please do not miss the chance to admire the soft bamboo screens made of micro bamboo splints, so thin as a strand of hair and about one meter (one yard) long, significant considering they are all split by hand. It is not going too far to say that the bamboo screen is so unique here. This is an excellent combination between the traditional weaving skill and special workmanship required in the making of micro bamboo splints.
A Japanese customer, who used to supervise production at Tang Tien for some time, expressed his satisfaction: “It’s marvelous; we have been importing baskets from Tang Tien for nearly three years, and our customers are very fond of these products.” Besides penetration into Japan, they are now available in America and some of the EU. Among five hamlets of Tang Tien commune, many households are making bamboo wares, and nearly 100% of the households in Phuc Long commune are in this craft, altogether creating about 2,000,000 products a month with annual exports of more than 1,000,000 US dollars.
From the raw material of natural bamboo, Tang Tien villagers have been weaving their nice dreams of a bright future.