Phung Hung Old House of over 240 years old in Hoi An
Phung Hung Old House is one of the special destinations in Hoi An city. Although located quietly in the heart of the old town, after 240 years of ups and downs, the house is still preserved intact, attracting hundreds of people to visit every year.
1. About Phung Hung Old House
Phung Hung Old House is located at No. 4 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province. The house was built more than 240 years ago, around the end of the eighteenth century – the beginning of the nineteenth century, which was also the thriving period of Hoi An at that time.
The first owner was a Vietnamese who had a wide prosperous business. Initially, the house was used as a permanent trading place for such goods, like cinnamon, pepper, salt, porcelain, glass, etc., which are all hot valuable items at that time. The name Phung Hung means this place is expected to flourish over time, and the descendants in the house will be forever wealthy.
The current owner of the house is the 8th generation descendant. Their family members not only take care of the place but also explain and guide visitors to understand the house’s history as well as ancient architectural furniture. At present, Phung Hung Old House is also a family sewing and embroidery establishment.
2. The architecture of Phung Hung Old House
Phung Hung Old House features a tube-shaped with wide facade with the meaning of a big, open door to welcome fortune. This is a popular model of the trading spot in the early nineteenth century. Materials are mainly rare and precious woods, therefore, after more than two centuries, the old house still retains its original beauty.
Like other famous ancient house works in Hoi An Ancient Town, the architecture of Phung Hung synthesizes from 3 cultural flows, including Vietnam, China, and Japan.
Specifically, the system of balconies, doors, and windows are slightly Chinese-oriented. Meanwhile, the large roof of the middle space has 4 directions symbolized four seas, which was extremely popular in Japanese architecture in the Edo period.
The pillars, wooden columns, crossbeams, longitudinal beams, and traditional two-way roofs in the front-back rooms all follow bold Vietnamese architectural features.
There are 80 main pillars fully made of ironwood, all of which are placed on the carefully-carved stone to avoid contact between the foot of the column and the ground. This is aimed at reducing settlement and preventing the house from mold or termites.
The doors in Phung Hung Old House are designed in the style of Thuong Song Ha Ban (below are bars, under are closed doors) for easy moving, along with creating a cool atmosphere in summer and warm in winter. These doors can even be removed to serve the needs of the homeowner.
The unique feature of the house is its versatility in use. In the rainy season, Hoi An is prone to flooding, so the designer cleverly installed a hatch through the empty attic to effortlessly move valuable furniture.
Moreover, the house also has the yin and yang roofing pattern, keeping the atmosphere inside cool and well ventilated all year round. The porch support is engraved with a carp pattern, which is a symbol of luck in China, prosperity in Vietnam, and power in Japan.
Upstairs, in the family worshipping room, there is a sophisticatedly carved Thien Hau Thanh Mau altar, with the belief that the Goddesses Mother will bless the whole family forever. On the table in front of the altar door, there are always 7 marble dice put in a bowl.
3. National level monuments
Visiting Phung Hung Old House, tourists will be excited to admire the talent of the architect who designed this house. This person is surely a profound person, imbued with all three Eastern architectural backgrounds.
The details were imported yet extremely in harmony, and they still keep the cultural identity of Vietnam at that time.
Phung Hung Old House was granted the National Historical-Cultural Relic on June 29, 1993, up to now, the house still retains almost intact both domestic and foreign ancient architectural lines. This is also a true and precious resource about the art and lifestyle of the old Hoi An merchant class.
Phung Hung Old House is also one of the most beautiful old house models of ancient Hoi An architecture. It seems a very regrettable omission if you have not visited this old house once when coming to Hoi An.