Rosewood

In the outskirts of Hanoi there is a group of small village boroughs that specialize in manufacturing rosewood sculpture and furniture. Most of the rosewood is illegally harvested from forests in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, and as far away as Myanmar. In Viet Nam, the rosewood is sold on the streets of these village boroughs as well as in China where it enters a larger market.

When Dave and I arrived in Hanoi, back in December, we met a Chinese tourist named Sebastian, who was traveling outside of China for the first time. He was beginning his own tour of Viet Nam. In Hanoi, Sebastian planned to meet a friend he had met online, playing a video game. Sebastian invited Dave and I to join him. His friend turned out to be Miaho, a rosewood dealer from China. 

 While working in Viet Nam, to oversee the manufacture of rosewood sculpture and furniture, Miaho lives in the storage garage where he stocks his inventory.  He ships the work home to his Chinese warehouse, where the work is finished and sold. Here, Miaho sits in the storage garage amidst the smoke from a small fire he prepared on the floor, to cook lunch.

While working in Viet Nam, to oversee the manufacture of rosewood sculpture and furniture, Miaho lives in the storage garage where he stocks his inventory.  He ships the work home to his Chinese warehouse, where the work is finished and sold. Here, Miaho sits in the storage garage amidst the smoke from a small fire he prepared on the floor, to cook lunch.

 Workshops and showrooms fill every building, lining both sides of the streets of the village boroughs outside Hanoi. In the workshops, the red sawdust of the rosewood lays everywhere and fills the air.

Workshops and showrooms fill every building, lining both sides of the streets of the village boroughs outside Hanoi. In the workshops, the red sawdust of the rosewood lays everywhere and fills the air.

 David walks through one of the larger showrooms. 

David walks through one of the larger showrooms. 

 The workshops are often run by families, with every member of the family a craftsman. The artists will sit on the street in front of their shops, to hand-carve the smaller pieces.

The workshops are often run by families, with every member of the family a craftsman. The artists will sit on the street in front of their shops, to hand-carve the smaller pieces.