Tan Ky Ancient House – A Must-See 200-year-old Architecture in Hoi An

Located at 101 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street in the heart of the Ancient Town of Hoi An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, Tan Ky Ancient House is a skillful and harmonious combination of three architectural backgrounds: Japan – China – Vietnam. This unique ancient house was also recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage in 1990. Let’s see what makes this house become very valuable and unique!

A Long History

Tan Ky Ancient House
Tan Ky Ancient House

The Tan Ky Ancient House has a rich and fascinating history that dates back over 280 years. It was originally constructed in 1741 as the residence of a 7-generation family and also served as a trading place for local merchants as well as foreign traders during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The name “Tan Ky” was given by the second generation of the family, who hoped for an appreciative life and prosperous business. In 1961, the ancient house was severely damaged by a massive flood, but fortunately, it still retained its original architecture and valuable antique collections.

In 1990, the Tan Ky Ancient House was recognized as a World Natural Heritage by UNESCO. However, the house is still managed by the Le family, with the family members living on the top floor, while the first floor is open for tourists to visit.

What to see in Tan Ky Ancient House?

Unique Sophisticated Design

The unique design combine between Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese insight the house
The unique design combines between Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese insights the house

The Tan Ky Ancient House is a remarkable example of exceptional craftsmanship, built by renowned artisans from the renowned Kim Bong carpentry village. The intricate motifs and patterns that adorn the structure reflect the influence of Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese architectural styles, infusing the house with the breath of oriental philosophy.

The key materials used in the construction of this ancient house are rare and high-quality – stone from Thanh Hoa Province, floor tiles from the renowned Bat Trang Village, and rare woods. The combination of these diverse materials has imbued the Tan Ky Ancient House with a unique characteristic, allowing it to remain cool in the summer and warm in the winter, despite its age of over 200 years.

The exceptional quality of the building materials and the skilled craftsmanship have ensured the remarkable preservation of the Tan Ky Ancient House. Constructed in the typical tubular style of the Hoi An Ancient Town, the house is divided into many separate rooms, yet it maintains a constant flow of fresh air without the presence of windows.

The harmonious blending of diverse cultural influences and the attention to detail have transformed the Tan Ky Ancient House into a true architectural masterpiece, showcasing the exceptional skills of the Vietnamese craftsmen who created this timeless treasure.

Must-See and Precious Antiques Inside

The Tan Ky Ancient House is a true treasure trove, housing a remarkable collection of valuable antiques and artifacts that offer a glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage of the region. Here are some highlights for your reference:

The Legendary “Confucius Cup”

The crown jewel of the Tan Ky Ancient House’s collection is the revered “Confucius Cup,” a priceless artifact dating back to the era of the renowned philosopher Confucius himself. There is only one in Vietnam and preserved here.

This rare and exquisite piece serves as a tangible link to the intellectual traditions that have profoundly influenced Vietnamese culture.

The only one authentic Confucius Cup in Vietnam
The only one authentic Confucius Cup in Vietnam

Beautiful diaphragms and tureens

The Tan Ky Ancient House boasts an impressive collection of beautifully preserved calligraphic masterpieces, including:

  • “Tâm thường thái” (Keeping the Mind Serene): This stunning piece of calligraphy conveys the profound message of maintaining inner peace and tranquility.
  • “Tích đức lưu tôn” (Accumulating Virtue, Passing on Nobility): This elegant couplet encourages the preservation and transmission of noble virtues to future generations.
  • Rare 100-Stroke “Bách Điểu” (Hundred Birds): Deemed a true rarity by archaeologists, this extraordinary calligraphic work depicts birds in flight, with each stroke executed with the grace and elegance of a soaring avian.

Translation excerpt of The Inspiring Story of Tan Ky’s Founder

The epitaph at the founder’s grave tells the touching story of Cong, an orphan who rose to great success through his own efforts. Despite his humble beginnings, Cong became a renowned and beloved figure, known for his generosity and compassion towards the less fortunate. This account of Cong’s life serves as an inspiring example of the transformative power of hard work and kindness.

The Yin and Yang Eyes in front of the house

Prominently placed at the entrance are two striking yin and yang eyes, representing the harmonious balance of opposing forces central to Chinese and Vietnamese philosophies.

Priceless antiques and souvenirs

The main living area of the Tan Ky Ancient House showcases a captivating collection of priceless antiques and artifacts. But the homeowners have also created two charming nooks brimming with locally crafted souvenirs and keepsakes.

Various Precious Antiques inside the house
Various Precious Antiques inside the house

In these cozy corners, visitors can browse an array of delicate decorative pins, whimsical trinkets, and other endearing mementos. These thoughtful items offer the perfect opportunity to bring home a piece of the Tan Ky legacy, whether for yourself or as a special gift.

Before You Go

Before visiting this unique Ancient House, here are some helpful information for the best travel:

  • The Tan Ky Ancient House is open for visitors from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily
  • The entrance fee is VND 120.000/adult (around ~US $5/adult)
  • Tan Ky Ancient House is located inside the Hoi An Ancient Town, hence, to visit here you must go on foot or by bike due to motorbike is not allowed here.
  • When visiting, be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking around the ancient house and the surrounding narrow streets of Hoi An.
  • Also, be mindful of the dress code and avoid wearing revealing or disruptive clothing when visiting here.

Hoi An Ancient Town’s Attractions Nearby

The Tan Ky Ancient House is located in the heart of the Hoi An Ancient Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site owning lots of unique attractions nearby, such as:

  • Japanese Covered Bridge: This iconic 400-year-old bridge is a masterpiece of Japanese architecture, featuring intricate carvings and a distinctive curved design.
  • Hoi An Central Market: A vibrant hub of local commerce, the Central Market offers an immersive experience, with stalls selling fresh produce, handmade crafts, and delectable street food.
  • Quan Cong Temple: This revered Taoist temple is renowned for its exquisite wood carvings and serene atmosphere, offering visitors a glimpse into the region’s rich spiritual heritage.
  • Lantern-Lined Streets: The ancient town’s charming alleyways are adorned with colorful paper lanterns, creating a magical, otherworldly ambiance that has made Hoi An a renowned destination for photographers and romantics alike.

Indochina Voyages hopes after this travel guide about Tan Ky Ancient House, you will have the best journey to visit the hidden charms of Hoi An town. Whether drawn to the Tan Ky house for its historical significance, architectural beauty, or one-of-a-kind treasures, a visit here is sure to leave a lasting impression – a window into the past that celebrates the vibrant present with the nearby Japanese Covered Bridge, Central Market, Quan Cong Temple, and enchanting lantern-lit streets offering endless opportunities for cultural immersion.

Thuy Dang – From Indochina Voyages Team

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