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You are here:      Home News Housing Hoi An’s history
Housing Hoi An’s history

Diep_Dong_Nguyen-HouseHoi An is a city richly layered in cultural history. Outsides have the privilege of peeking in, thanks to the grace of local residents. One Hoi An family opens its doors to share a collection of family heirlooms and antiques with today’s communities.

Thousands of antiques, dating back hundreds and thousands of years, are on display at the Diep family house in Hoi An.

The owners of the generation of the house, Mr.Vinh Tan and Mr.Diep Gia Tung (Sung), keep their antiques showcased in an open house for tourists. Antiques, they believe, are only beautiful when shared with today’s communities.

A pale blue wooden house, with fading paint and constructed with Chinese architectural style and Japanese influences, sits at 80 Nguyen Thai Hoc, one of the three main streets in town. The house, built at the end of the 19th century, is inscribed with the name Diep Dong Nguyen.

According to the Diep Dong Nguyen records, Mr. Diep Ngo Xuan was his family’s generation to reside in Hoi An. In1856, he moved there in the flow of migrants the traveled from Gia Ung district in China.

Mr. Xuan established the family’s first Chinese traditional medicine shop on Tran Phu Street, which later was named Diep Dong Xuan Street. Mr. Xuan’s children have kept the business and built a pharmacy at 80 Nguyen Thai Hoc, the family continued on – now at the eight generation—collecting antiques along the way.

On the first floor, glass shelves display the antiques, which are a diverse collection of cups ad bowls from China and Vietnam. Some photos of the Diep family in the aristocratic dress of the early 20th century hang on the walls. After nearly a hundred years, the photos are still richly colored.

Narrow wooden stairs lead up to the second floor, where the family’s private collection of antiques us stored: photographs, porcelain, furniture, and ancient money. There are many kinds of currencies in Hoi An form feudal Japan and different dynasties in Vietnam and China.

The second floor also has small jars from the Khang Ky King period, Chu Dau pottery from the seventh century, antiques from the Ming, Thanh, and Duog dynasties, which were bought by the Diep family in China thousands of years ago.

The interior décor of the living room is also antique, with Empress Nam Phuong’s dressing table, the Khang Hy King’s cups, a medal that King Bao Dai awarded the family, and furniture that Ngo Dinh Diem once sat in.

A special item is a copper urn, which glows re in the rainy season and gold in the dry season, in the early 16th century, Chinese gold and money melted into alloy, which was used to cast many products, including this copper urn.

The Diep family has collected different kinds of seals from famous businessmen and local mandarins including the district chief, Cantonese chief, village mayors,. The family has collected female objects such as agate bracelets, brooches, and mirrors. Their collections also include Chinese calligraphy and water color paintings.

The Diep Family is pound of its collections, regarding these antiques as a connection to the past, to family memories. The transformation of his to home into a showroom is therefore worth the money that Mr.Sung spent, as he loves sharing the history of his family and of Hoi A with today’s generations and those to come.


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