The immortal beauty of Tan Ky Old House in Hoi An

Tan Ky Old House - the famous destination in Hoi An, has retained its mysterious beauty and architecture features for almost three centuries.
April 05, 2021 | 11:03
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The immortal beauty of Tan Ky Old House in Hoi An
The stylized "eyes" above the door protect the house from bad luck. (Photo: VnExpress)

Each house in Hoi An old town is a prominent individual of the architectural complex of the whole city. Therefore, Hoi An people still live normal daily lives in their neighborhood, they associated their lives with ancient architectures in their land. Considered the oldest and the most beautiful old house in Hoi An, Tan Ky Old House has retained a lot of precious antiques and has been an attractive destination for tourists.

Built in 1741, the house on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street has been home to seven generations of a family. It was named "Tan Ky" by the second generation of owners, hoping that would bring them wealth.

When having built the house, Kim Bong carpenters perfectly coordinated three ancient architectural styles of Vietnam - Japan - China. The first pavilion is designed 3 small apartments inside in accordance with traditional Vietnamese architecture with the yin-yang tile-covered roof. It is also a highlight of whole house with a series of trusses, rafters sophisticatedly carved with intricate shapes: pumpkins, mailboxes, bats, and ribbons. These carvings hide their own symbolic significance…

Photo: VnExpress

Japanese architectural style is evident in the structure of the old house; meanwhile Chinese architecture is shown in "crab shell" rafters. Arch architecture with the ribbon wrapping around two swords is characteristic of ancient Chinese people. The house strongly represents features of Oriental philosophy, such as the triple-beam structure (stands for heaven, earth and humans), the five round blocks (represent metal, wood, water, fire and earth – the five basic natural elements in Eastern philosophy) and several decorative carvings on the edge of the roof and furniture.

Amongst several pieces in the house, the most famous ones are two vertical panels next to the central courtyard, which are inscribed with parallel sentences. What surprising about this piece is that each stroke of writing is an illustration of a bird. One hundred birds in total represent perfection.

It took the owners many years to build the house: 10 years to get the wood to Hoi An and another three for the actual construction. It incorporates features of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese cultures. (Photo: VnExpress)

The old house Tan Ky has reserved many horizontal lacquered boards such as “Tích đức lưu tôn” (teaching the children to keep virtue for the following generations); “Tâm thường thái” (keep the mind to always be quiet).

The area inside the first apartment is the place where artifacts and sailboats are exhibited, which is the symbol of Hoi An Port 400 years ago.

Eighty percent of the wood used in the construction is ironwood, renowned for its durability. Notably, the house’s wooden frame was built entirely without nails. Instead, all the wooden bars are connected by joints. (Photo: VnExpress)

The house also retains a horizontal lacquered board “Bách Điểu ( One Hundred Birds). The archaeologists considered it a unique one in Vietnam. It is written in 100 letters, each of them is a bird which is taking off.

When coming into the house, you can see a shiny black bed, which was carved carefully or the base of a flower vessel is carved elaborately.

In many artifacts at the old house, you cannot miss “Confucius Bowl”, which is invaluable treasures tied to the ancient remnants of Confucius. It advises humans to refrain from their behaviors, keeps themselves in a neutral state, not outrageous activities.

In the house, there is a translation of the inscription of Mr. Le Tan Ky Stele, who established Tan Ky business. It summarizes the story of an orphan boy Cong by his own self-independence that becomes the person of fame, loving, helping the poor and the respect from the people.

A curved roof, a feature of Chinese architecture. (Photo: VnExpress)

Apart from the exhibition space with many priceless antiques in the living room, the house has two cute little corners of homeowners to exhibit small gifts of tourists visited the family as a souvenir gift.

The old house also has space for tourists all over the world to leave the card visit to save his memories when visiting the old house.

Tan Ky Old House Hoi An, as well as other numerous architectural works has contributed to the overall architecture of Hoi An enriching; simultaneously, diversifies Hoi An tourism. It is gradually an important tourist attraction in Hoi An on architectural beauty. The old house was recognized as a World Natural Heritage by UNESCO. Taking a visit to Tan Ky Old House, tourists will have the opportunity to ascertain much more about typical architectures in building Hoi An commercial port which was once flourished.

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