Friday, July 14, 2017

Duong Lam - An Early Medieval Vietnamese Village Also Known As A Living Museum of Converted Laterite

Phùng Hưng got his birth with a prodigious physical strength in a rich family in 761 AD who at the age of thirty along with his brother Phùng Hải and Đỗ Anh Hàn, a military strategist led a rebellion against the long ruling Chinese Tang Dynasty in Vietnam since 111 BC and seized the headquarters of the An nam Protectorate which was being administered by a corrupt military leader Cao Chính Bình who shortly died himself due to an illness and power crisis. Phun Hung became the military governor of An nam and a semi-autonomous ruler of the region for a short span of 11 years & his son succeeded him but he couldn’t resist for long and the declining Tang Dynasty found its roots again in the region. The local population were only given a glimpse of independence for a shorter span until 939 when another villager from the same village Duong Lam, where Phun Hung was born, Ngo Quyen proclaimed himself as the King of An Nam, the southernmost province of China during the Tang Dynasty. He founded the first Vietnamese Dynasty in the form of Ngo Dynasty  and renamed the presently known Vietnam as Dai Viet.

Duong Lam is now a commune of Son Tay Town in the region of Hanoi - the national capital of Vietnam. It beholds in itself some houses dating back to as minimum as 300 years which are made up of laterite and clay, both found locally in abundance - the latter was available in the ponds and water bodies present in the vicinity. Its a living example presenting a case of a community and its lifestyle in early medieval times of human developmental story as an agriculture community (rice being the primary source). The structure of a normal ancient house of Duong Lam includes a main gate, a garden, a yard, a main living house, an out building, a kitchen and a livestock barn. Duong Lam has 956 traditional houses built out of blocks of laterite presenting itself to the world as a Museum of Converted Laterite & Clay - the newly built houses has only added to the overall cultural beauty by building in the similar fashion in general. Most of the old houses had a secret door connecting it to the communal house which is a place of worship of the community. All roads and alleys of the village were planned to prevent theft and crime. The roads and the form used in them were special in some parts in the shapes of the bones of a fish out of which few such are preserved till date. There used to be a common well for a group of people - each house has its own in present times but the former one is well preserved by the community as a sign of marked imprints of their ancestors. In 2005, Duong Lam was organised as a complex of national importance by Vietnam which also consist of a set five other villages of the same category - Mong Phu, Dong Sang, Cam Thinh, Doai Giap & Cam Lam. 


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