Tan Ky Ancient House (Vietnamese: nhà cổ Tấn Ký, nhà cổ mean ancient house) is the first ancient house to be honored as a National Heritage, considered a “living museum” that retains almost intact the typical architecture of ancient houses in Hoi An. This beautiful house is the hottest check-in place in ancient town – Hoi An, always attracting thousands of tourists to admire the architecture, culture and listen to impressive presentations.

General information about Tan Ky ancient house

Tan Ky Ancient House was built in 1741 which witnessed many historical events that occurred over 200 years. Currently, the homeowner is still living on the upper floor of the house, while the ground floor is for visiting purpose. Even though 7 generations have lived here, the ancient house of Tan Ky is still kept almost intact.

Tan Ky Ancient House

The house was built by Mr. Le Cong – a businessman of Chinese origin, got rich by trading agricultural products at that time. During his son’s generation, the house was named Tan Ky – meaning prosperity in business. In front of the house is Nguyen Thai Hoc street, bustling with trade, meanwhile behind the house is the gentle Thu Bon river to facilitate importing goods.

Tan Ky ancient house has witnessed many historical floods. At its peak, in 1964, floodwaters reached the roof of the first floor of the house, but the house remained unharmed, as if challenging the erosion of time.

Tan Ky Ancient House

Hoi An in floods

Tan Ky is the first ancient house honored to become a National Heritage and also the only ancient house in Hoi An to honorably welcome heads of state, politicians at home and abroad. Many film crews have also filmed films here. 

Note: For each ticket, the time to visit Tan Ky ancient house is 20 minutes. In particular, if you go in a group of 8 people or more, you will receive a free explanation throughout the tour.

Architecture of Tan Ky ancient house in Hoi An

The house is a combination of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architectural styles, including 2 horizontal bars overlapping each other, symbolizing heaven and man, and 5 vertical bars like 5 fingers, symbolizing the five elements. The house’s harmonious architecture speaks to the dream of harmony between humans and nature.

Tan Ky Ancient house in Hoi An

Japanese architectural style: the living room is built according to feng shui: Metal – Wood – Water – Fire – Earth. The tile roof is roofed in a harmonious yin and yang style, creating a cool and airy atmosphere in the summer, while in the winter it is cozy and not cold.

Tan Ky Ancient House

Chinese architectural style: tubular style typical, inside divided into many compartments with many separate rooms. In particular, the house has a tubular architecture typical of ancient urban areas. 

Tan Ky Ancient house

The curved porch is influenced by Chinese architecture

There are no windows everywhere. The house’s only place to receive light is a courtyard called a skylight. However, when entering this ancient house, visitors do not feel stuffy. 

sky well in Tan Ky Ancient house

skylight area in Tan Ky Ancient house

Vietnamese architectural style: designed in a three-room house according to traditional Vietnamese style, the ceiling is covered with yin and yang tiles.

Tan Ky Ancient house

Tile roofs are typical of Vietnamese people

The main highlight of the house is the truss, cross, and vertical wooden bars connecting the columns that are exquisitely carved with typical images such as: “Dragon head – fish tail carved”, “pumpkin”, “pomegranate” or carved structures of “peach” bearing the symbol of longevity, “bat”  filled with happiness.

inside the Tan Ky Ancient house

Wood is the main material used to build this Tan Ky ancient house. Tan Ky ancient house was made by artisans with the most skillful hands in the famous Kim Bong carpentry village of Quang Nam. The motifs, patterns, and structures on the house all carry colorful meanings, messages, and Eastern philosophies. The rafters and ribs of the house are made from Lim wood – a type of precious wood; the doors are made from jackfruit wood – a durable wood over time…

inside the inside Tan Ky Ancient house

Besides, the floor tiles and exterior decorative stones are all imported from Bat Trang, Thanh Hoa where famous for high quality products. Another interesting point of the house is not used any nails, the columns and rafters are built together with tenons and are extremely sturdy.

Antiquities have everlasting value

Currently, the ancient house of Tan Ky still preserves many horizontal panels and parallel tables, including many beautiful paintings such as: “Amassing virtue to save children” (teaching children and grandchildren to keep good virtue for the next generation); “The mind is always calm” (keeping the mind always quiet).

Tan Ky Ancient house

In addition, this place also preserves a set of “One Hundred Birds” hanging scroll which written in 100 strokes, each stroke representing a bird in flight and considered unique by archaeologists. But most precious of all, perhaps the “Confucius Cup” dates from 550-600 BC – is a priceless treasure, associated with ancient stories about Confucius. It looks very simple on the inside, but it carries a very profound meaning: when holding water, it can only hold 8 parts and if pour more, the water will automatically flow out, advising people to know how to restrain their behavior, keep themselves in a neutral state, not outrageous.

Tan Ky Ancient house

Confucius cup in Tan Ky ancient house

A guide pouring water to Confucius Cup

Besides the unique architecture, the long-standing antiques displayed in the house have created a strange attraction for visitors when hearing about their anecdotes.

Tan Ky Ancient house

In addition to the old memories in the house, the management board set aside two beautiful small corners to display badges and unique souvenirs for visitors to buy as gifts for relatives and friends.

Source: collected by An

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