HUNG YEN – Nearly a month before the Mid-Autumn Festival, people in Ong Hao village, Lieu Xa commune, Yen My district rush to make drums, mache masks… to keep up with consumption.
On a small yard filled with masks, Mr and Mrs. Vu Duy Dong (69 years old) and Ms. Vu Thi Hanh (64 years old) are busy completing orders for masks to deliver to customers.
This is one of nearly 10 households in the village that still make Mid-Autumn Festival toys in Ong Hao village, Lieu Xa commune. Once, most of the households in the village made traditional toys with natural materials such as bamboo, cork, paper, cardboard… Nowadays due to the competition of electronic products and Chinese toys, People gradually quit their jobs to earn other jobs with a better income.
Mr. Dong said he has been in the profession for 40 years. “I followed the profession from my father, now it’s only me, my wife, and my son,” said Mr. Dong, while drawing attention to the patterns on the paper mask.
“I can hire a mask, but when it comes to drawing, I still have to do it myself because I have to be right, creating the soul of my character to be satisfied,” Mr. Dong shared.
According to Mr. Dong, the mache mask goes through many stages: first, you have to tear the newspaper very small, then put the paper in a cement mold, and then cover it with an adhesive layer to create hardness with tapioca starch.
“Now it’s impossible to get rich with this profession, stick with it for a long time, love the job, so you can maintain it so as not to be lost,” said the artist.
Mrs. Hanh, Mr. Dong’s wife applied a layer of glossy paint, which is also the last step to complete the mache mask. Masks have many different shapes, simulating many characters such as Ong Dia, Thi No, Chi Pheo, Ton Ngo Khong, and Tru Bat Gioi … with prices from 35,000 to 50,000 VND each. Most of the products are shipped to wholesale markets in the northern provinces such as Hai Phong, Quang Ninh and Hanoi.
In addition to masks, Hao village is also famous for handmade drum products. In the small alleys in the village, the drums are dried in the sun to make them stronger.
Ms. Vu Thi La, a drummer in the village, said that in the stages, holding the drum (closing the drum face) is a stage that requires ingenuity, so that the drum surface is not too tight and overlapped, the drum sound will be more resonant. With a skilled worker, it will take about 5 minutes to complete a drum.
“I want to keep the job and pass it on to my children and grandchildren. The income in this profession is not high, my cousins all changed to other jobs with better income, and each family is trying to keep the job,” the woman said. Women have been with the sharing profession for nearly 40 years.
At the production facility, Mr. Vu Duy Ninh worked hard to paint each drum so that it could be sold in time to wholesale markets in Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, and Da Nang… Mr. Ninh said that on this occasion, he had sold about approx. 50,000 pieces with prices from 15,000 – 40,000 VND depending on the size.
Keyword: Mid-Autumn Festival toy-making village