Coming to the kingdom of
embroidery with lace in Van Lam village, Ninh Hai
commune, in the Hoa Luu district of Ninh Binh province,
you will have a chance to see excellent works of
embroidery combined with lace that is breathtaking.
Van Lam is considered to be one of the cradles of
traditional embroidery which is very famous in Vietnam.
According to village annals, embroidery has existed
there for over seven centuries. The patriarch, Do Cong
Hau, was a military general under Tran dynasty, and
legend has it that he learned embroidery while competing
in China. While there he saw a marvelous wall hanging,
and marveled at the details. He inquired about it and
the artisans agreed to teach him their skills. When he
returned, he taught this new art form to the villagers
of Van Lam. Centuries later, with the influence of
French colonialists, the villagers of Van Lam began
creating a new craft combining European lace and
Vietnamese embroidery. This became immediately popular
in Vietnam and abroad.
Currently, of the eight hundred and thirty households in
Van Lam, more than seven hundred are skilled in this
village industry of making embroidery with lace. The
villagers use a multitude of embroidery frames, some as
large as a sedge mat, and some as small as a hand. The
embroiderer can create many artworks from a single,
slender thread, colorful fabrics and skilled hands. Lace
designs are very sophisticated, agile, soft, and as
lively as a painting. To observe a women attentively
sitting by the embroidery frame, her skillful hands
carefully threading each line while she passionately
beams watching the scene unfold to her liking before her
eyes, we can understand this is much more than a village
craft, but a way of life.
From traditional embroidery with lace products, these
production units have shifted to producing high quality
white lace to create new designs to meet the changing
demands of international markets. Many famous
enterprises have been formed in Van Lam village such as
Dong Thanh Embroidery, Van Quan, Duc Vinh, and My Huong.
They have a wide range of products that are attractive
to both domestic and international markets, such as bed
covers, pillow covers, napkin sets, door curtains,
Japanese kimonos, Korean hanboks, and simple
handkerchiefs, all with smooth embroidery pieces
embellished with charming lace decor. The prestige of
Van Lam embroidery brought an increasing number of
customers from Japan, Korea, France, Germany, Italy,
England, and America.
The skillful combination of embroidery and lace from Van
Lam continues to be handed down from generation to
generation. It can be accurately stated that the soul of
the artisans can be seen through their needle-work,
creating fascinating products imbued with the
inspiration of the people and their surroundings.
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