Koh Chen - The Craft Village near the Waterway
by Top Mekong Cruises Apr 03, 2017
Each of destinations in Kingdom of Wonder has it own attraction and Koh Chen is such a location. Friendly people, idyllic landscape and the items which are decorated with meticulous engraving leave a deep impression on visitors when they have an excursion to Koh Chen.
Koh Chen is an island located in the Tonle Sap Lake. It is easy to reach from Oudong and Phnom Penh. When approaching this island by boat, the first notable image you’ll get is the big sitting Buddha statue put peacefully near the river bank and beyond it is the roof covered with yellow tiles of a temple built in Khmer style. The lush green trees make the view of the island more beautiful and fresher.
Near the temple, there is a small school where you can capture some priceless moments of smiley faces of poor children as well as their rusticly simple studying conditions.
It can be said that the soul of Koh Chen is clay and silver craft items. In 1970s, when Cambodia was under the rule of Khmer Rouge, the intricate crafts were nearly lost. However, this part of country’s culture is still preserved thanks to the huge effort of local artisans,
No one can remember the source of this handicraft since it was passed from generation to generation. The villagers do not go to any art schools, they learn from people around them, for example, from family members. They all have the thought that men and women have the different responsibilities in working process. Men will forge and women will engrave. The main materials used to make these items are clay, copper or bronze and silver.
When you pay a visit to this village, you will be welcomed by the locals to their houses which are also their small workshops. You’ll see the process of straightening and shaping the bronze or silver done by men and the process of engraving done by women. The men will shape this material into bowls, boxes or trays. Then women will engrave the picture of flowers, trees, animals or even the picture of Angkor Wat or Ramayana. They also follow the demand of clients and engrave on the demanded items.