Door Eyes in Hoi An

The Mysterious Door Eyes of Hoi An Ancient Town

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: November 27, 2019

Visiting Hoi An Ancient Town, travelers will easily see many houses with wooden eyes pinned on the door. These “door eyes” are a trait of housing architecture in Hoi An, bringing about special, unique and distinctive value of culture to this land.  It was an eye share by wooden finely diversified symmetrical front doors.

Door eyes in an old house of Hoi An
(@angelin)

So far, there have been no satisfactory answer for the real meaning and its behind story as well as the decoration concept of “eyes” in front of the houses in Hoi An. But for the local, door eyes in Hoi An spiritual symbol. The eyes are there to welcome friendly people, but also to send the evil spirit away to keep peace for the house and the family.  

Door eyes on boats in Hoi An

Not only pinned on the doors of houses, the symbol of eyes is also drawn in front of fishing boats in the Central region. The fishermen here notion that boats as well as fishes, fishes have eyes to swim, the boat must have eyes to guide to where to fish, avoid danger, eyes painted on the boat making the shark scared because it thought black eyes are great enemies. Eye boat brings bumper catches and help sailors avoid disease.

Popular door eyes on Hoi An boats

Whichever their deep meaning is, eyes on doors have become an indispensible part of spiritual life of people living in Hoi An. This is also the way people in Hoi An living in harmony with nature to create depth of a cultural heritage of human being.

As a unique symbol of Hoi An, everyone to Hoi An will remember a poem of its eyes:

The eyes of Hoian
Are so beautiful
The eyes over the door
To keep the house in peace

The eyes on the ship
To make safe and sound trip
People are so nice
Smiling with bright eyes

Oh, I love so much
The eyes of Hoian.

Hoi An Ancient Town is said to be worth a visit to discover the local culture as well as peaceful beauty of Vietnam.

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