About 3 km from Cai Be town, hidden in a compound of trees and lakes just as traditional landscapes of Mekong Delta, there is an ancient house of Mr. Le Quang Xoat. This nearly 200-year-old house has unique artistic architecture in the style of Hue’s house but with bold Southern nuances.

Unique architecture of the ancient house

Dong Hoa Hiep ancient village has many ancient houses from 80 to 200 years old, of which the house of Mr. Le Quang Xoat and Mrs. Doan Thi Tri (his wife) is considered the oldest one. The house was built in 1818 and was completed in 1821 by Mr. Le Quang Xoat’s 6th generation ancestor, Mr. Le Van Ky.

According to the remaining records of the Le family in Dong Hoa Hiep, the couple Mr. Le Van Ky and Mrs. Pham Thi Lau, come from the central region, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries migrated Cai Be. To build the house, Mr. Ky spent 10 years of finding and gathering wood in Cambodia, then built a raft and floated it down the Mekong River to Cai Be, then pulled them up. When he had prepared enough wood to build a house, Mr. Ky went to Hue to hire skilled workers come to work for him. 

ancient house of Mr. Le Quang Xoat

The house is surrounded by orchards, flowers and ornamental plants typical of Southern garden houses.

The ancient house has 3 rooms and 2 double wings made of precious wood, yin and yang tiled roof on an orchard area more than 9000 m2.

Until now, although there have been a number of repairs and renovations, the ancient house outside looks like it has the appearance of “exotic exterior and traditional interior”, with combination of novel Western elements but the rustic feeling of Vietnamese wooden interior.

The front part is a facade built of bricks with an area of 80 m2 in French architectural style; base bundle of hexagonal green stone. The floor is lined with encaustic tiles; square and round columns; arched door. The tops of the doors and columns are built in Gothic architecture decorated with patterns of leaves and roses. 

ancient house of Mr. Le Van Xoat

In the middle there are two words “Nhut Tan” with a connected coin pattern. The roof is covered with fish scale tiles.

ancient house of Mr. Le Quang Xoat

Inside the façade is a bridge that serves as a place to welcome guests and work. The frame includes 14 large wooden pillars, placed on a green stone burial ground with a ceramic tile floor.

ancient house of Mr. Le Quang Xoat in side

 The 3 main spaces are created by 4 beams connected to the 4 columns of the three main houses, the rafters are skillfully and meticulously carved such as: dragon head,  joy letters, phoenix bird, fruit, leaf strings…

The main house supporting the roof with 24 tall round wooden columns. The door frames are decorated with many skillfully carved, embossed, and engraved molds with bold Vietnamese-style themes: plum, bird, pine, bud, chrysanthemum, lotus, leaf vine… symbols of happiness, prosperity and longevity. 

ancient house of Mr. Le Quang Xoat

In the middle is a very solemn set of altar paintings 2 side rooms, covered with dragons carved with stylized flowers and leaves, letter scrolls, money-holding boxes, custard apples, star fruit, flower baskets… Below is an ancestral altar carved with fish transformed into dragons.

ancient house of Mr. Le Quang Xoat

In front of the ancestral altar, there is a horizontal lacquered board with parallel sentences on both sides

Not only does the house have a unique architectural style, but inside the house it also preserves many precious antiques: 6 altars, 2 sets of sofas, 4 sets of mulches, altar sets, tables and chairs…, all of them skillfully and delicately carved with dragons, phoenixes, scrolls, apricot blossoms, and fruits, or carved with mother-of-pearl and painted with gold, demonstrating the ingenuity of talented artisans at that time. In particular, there is still a set of white veined marble long tables with legs 1.59 m long, 0.82 m wide, 0.82 m high and 1 set of marble boards (2 boards) 2.20 m long. 1.60 m wide, 15 cm thick.

ancient house of Mr. Le Quang Xoat

Around the house there are many ornamental trees and fruit trees, arranged harmoniously, creating a cool green space.

ancient house of Mr. Le Quang Xoat

ancient house of Mr. Le Quang Xoat

Altar of Heaven – a cultural symbol of Vietnamese people

ancient house of Mr. Le Quang Xoat

a pond in the garden

With an unique decorative and architecture heritages, the ancient house is sometimes credited as Dong Hoa Hiep ancient village.

Useful information about ancient house of Mr. Le Quang Xoat

Source: collected by An

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