Time allowed to stand still in 18th century Hoi An house

By Ha Thanh   February 22, 2021 | 09:09 am GMT+7
The 240-year-old Phung Hung House in Hoi An stands virtually as it did when it was first built, incorporating Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese designs.
The house stands at No.4 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in the old town near the Chua Cau (Japanese Covered Bridge). It was built in 1780 by a Vietnamese merchant when Hoi An, a national trading hub, was at its peak. In the past, the place used to sell forest products like cinnamon, pepper, salt, silk, chinaware and glassware. The present owner and resident is the eighth generation descendant of the merchant, continuing to preserve the house close to its original state.

The house stands at No.4 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in the ancient town near the Chua Cau (Pagoda Bridge). It was built in 1780 by a Vietnamese merchant when Hoi An, a national trading port, was at its peak. In the past, the place used to sell products like cinnamon, pepper, salt, silk, chinaware and glassware.
The present owners and residents are the eighth generation descendants of the merchant, continuing to preserve the house close to its original state.

Like the town of Hoi An in general, this house with its various cultural influences has been well preserved. It has a solid structure of wooden frames and floors, brick walls and double tiled roofs. Wooden pillars and beams carry exquisite carvings.

Like the town of Hoi An in general, this house with its various cultural influences has been well preserved. It has a solid structure of wooden frames and floors, brick walls and double tiled roofs. Wooden pillars and beams carry exquisite carvings.

The two eyes at the front door, a cultural heritage from Chinese people, is both a decoration and a spiritual token guarding the house.

The two "eyes" at the front door, a Chinese architectural feature, is both a decoration and a spiritual token guarding the house.

The furniture and interiors are well maintained.

The furniture and interiors are well maintained.

A curtained door lined with decorations separates the front and the back of the house.

A curtained door lined with decorations separates the front and the back of the house.

Inside, a large space gets natural light from the Japanese style roof. The house has a total of 80 pillars made of precious solid wood.

Inside, a large space gets natural light from the Japanese-style roof. The house has a total of 80 pillars made of precious solid wood.

The innermost room is a bedroom with a staircase leading to the second floor.

The innermost room is a bedroom with a staircase leading to the second floor.

The front room on the second floor is an altar room dedicated to the owner’s ancestors and Thien Hau Thanh Mau, a Chinese deity. It is also a gathering space for the family. The roof, floor structure and the frame on this floor are done in traditional Vietnamese style.

The front room on the second floor is an altar room dedicated to the owner’s ancestors and "Thien Hau Thanh Mau", a Chinese deity. It is also a gathering space for the family. The roof, floor structure and the frame on this floor are done in traditional Vietnamese style.

The square window on the floor tells the story of how its inhabitants cope with seasonal flooding. Commodities are shifted to the upper floor through this window.

The square "window" on the floor tells the story of how its inhabitants cope with seasonal flooding. Commodities are shifted to the upper floor through this window.

Wooden doors have bars on the upper part and solid wood planks on the lower to ensure both ventilation and privacy

Wooden doors have bars on the upper part and solid wood planks on the lower to ensure both ventilation and privacy.

The arched porch on the second floor has carved decoration featuring the carp, a fish considered sacred in Vietnam, Japan and China.

The arched porch on the second floor has carved decoration featuring the carp, a fish considered a symbol of luck in China, prosperity in Vietnam and power in Japan.

Centuries-old chinaware in a glass cabinet.

Centuries-old chinaware in a glass cabinet.

The Phung Hung Old House was recognized as a national relic in June 1993. Its design and opulent interiors are evidence that Hoi An was a culturally rich trading port. Admission tickets to the old town of Hoi An cost VND80,000 ($3.47) per person. Each visitor can choose three of 21 sites including ancient houses, museums and assembly halls. One of the popular attractions is the Phung Hung Old House. The town is offering a 50 percent discount on admission tickets until the 31st of March.

The Phung Hung Old House was recognized as a national relic in June 1993. Its design and opulent interiors are evidence that Hoi An was a culturally rich trading port.
Admission tickets to Hoi An cost VND80,000 ($3.47) per person. Each visitor can choose three of 21 sites including ancient houses, museums and assembly halls. One of the popular attractions is the Phung Hung Old House.
The town is offering a 50 percent discount on admission tickets until March 31.

 
 
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