The Non Nuoc craft village, founded in the 18th century and famous for its marble sculptures, is still alive and well at the foot of the Marble Mountains outside Da Nang. Known nationwide for its intricate marble designs, Non Nuoc is located in Hoa Hai Ward, Ngu Hanh Son District, where artisans and craftsmen have been using the rocks of the Marble Mountains to produce tools, art and furniture for centuries.
It is said that the craft village was established in the 18th century by Huynh Ba Quat, a man from the north-central province of Thanh Hoa. The first craftspeople from Thanh Hoa settled in Quan Khai Village near the Marble Mountains. Once the goods they made from the surrounding, marble and other rocks became popular, the village moved to the foot of Thuy Son (water mount), one of the Marble Mountains’ five major peaks. At Thuy Son, the artisans were closer to their material sources and business grew to a boom. Soon, travelers and traders from across Vietnam were making the journey to the village to pick up the best marble work in the country.
The boom expanded the village to include what are now the residential areas along Le Van Hien and Huyen Tran Cong Chua streets, where tourists now find all kinds of wares made from marble and other rock.
Local residents say the first craftspeople in the area used to just make mortars and tomb steles. But as their techniques improved, they began making statues and fine art.
The stories of the area’s most famous artisans are still retold to tourists. One popular figure is Huynh Ba Triem, who was the first to fashion a tea set out of the area’s majestic red stones. Then there are the stories of Cuu Dan and Nguyen Van De, who were sent to the former capital of Vietnam at the Hue Citadel to supervise sculpture art at the palaces and mausoleums for the Nguyen Kings in the 19th century.
Nowadays, visitors to Non Nuoc can buy anything from large statues of people, animals and deities to small ornaments or jewelry like bracelets, rings, beads, paperweights and small statues. All the products are made from marble extracted from the Marble Mountains and other colorful local rocks.
Source: VNN/TN - Vietnam National Administration of Tourism