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MY HANOIHISTORY

Tu Thi communal house worshiping founder of embroidery

Updated at Saturday, 17 Feb 2018, 09:58
The Hanoitimes - Tu Thi communal house at 2A Yen Thai street of Hanoi is a religious architecture worshiping Le Cong Hanh, the founder of the embroidery guild (1606 – 1661).
According to the legendary genealogical record of Bui Tran clan in Quat Dong circumscription, Thuong Tin district, Le Cong Hanh was originally a son of the Mac clan. In 1546,  Pham Tu Nghi, against court dignitaries will, supported the ascension of prince Mac Chinh Trung to the throne because prince Phuc Nguyen was too young to reign. And then, prince Mac Chinh Trung rose in rebellion.
 
The offerings at Tu Thi communal house are all unique products of embroidery
The offerings at Tu Thi communal house are all unique products of embroidery 
At that time, Bui Thi Ban, the imperial concubine of the deceased king Mac Phuc Hai, took his son and the younger prince Mac Phuc Dang to Quat Dong village to escape the rebellion for safety. Mac Phuc Do, son of Mac Phuc Dang, was born here. In 1592, the Le dynasty was restored in Thang Long, to avoid troubles; the descendants of the Mac clan changed their family name to Tran, the family name of the mother. Le Cong Hanh who was called Tran Quoc Khai when he was young, was born on the 18th day of the first lunar month of the year of the Horse  Binh Ngo (1606). Due to being once adopted by the Bui family, there’s an account noting that he took the name of his foster father. He was awarded doctorate degree in the reign of King Le Than Tong (1637). 
In 1646, at the age of 40, he was sent to China as ambassador. As a sensitive and clever person, he learned the sophisticated techniques of embroidery and parasol making, and then brought these trades to Vietnam. Being the Minister of Public Works and obtaining many achievements, he was given the permission to use the family name of the royal Le dynasty. He was called Le Cong Hanh from then on.
Le Cong Hanh died on the 12th day of the 6th lunar month of the year of the Buffalo Tan Suu (1661) at the age of 56. In memory of him, the people of 5 communes in Vu Du commune Thuong Tin district erected the temple and in the Thanh Thai era, they carved “Vu Du tien su bi ky” stele to record his biography. Every year, on the 12th day of the 6th month in the lunar calendar, palanquin procession to Ngu Xa temple and a ritual for offerings to the Patron Saint are held by the village embroiderers.
Among the flock of people who settled in Thang Long for business, Quat Dong village craftsmen established their business in Yen Thai Village.
The epitaph inside notes that the temple was built in the 3rd year of the Thanh Thai reign (1891), on a plot of land measuring 40m x 60m, with funding raised from  26 donors. Legend has it that the embroiderers in Yen Thai village sold their embroidery products on market day at the communal house, thus it’s  called Tho Theu (embroiderer) communal house. 
Over the past 100 years, the temple has retained its old beauty. Annually, on the 12th day of the 6th in the lunar calendar, Hanoi embroiderers come to Tu Thi communal house to celebrate the death anniversary of the Patron Saint. Ritual is also held as the Double Ninth festival (the 9th day of the  9th month in the lunar calendar) also known as Thuong Tan festival. Offerings include bananas, com (green sticky rice), red collared dove (cu ngoi), new rice. The all-volunteer team ranges from 9 to 12 members who  are the elders of the embroidery guild. Tu Thi communal house offerings are special as they are hat, shoes, the patron saint’ clothes, parallel sentences, horizontal banner which are all made of embroidery.
The temple was recognized as a national relic in 2012.

Thanh Minh
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