A Vietnamese potter came up with the idea of making World Cup trophies out of plaster

With a long history of fine pottery production, Bat Trang village, about 13 kilometres from Hanoi, is a favourite tourist destination. But as well as the typical ceramic kitchenware and garden ornaments, something golden catches the sun on the dusty streets — tens of identical World Cup trophies.

At about 36 centimetres tall, the trophies stand roughly the same height as the original, but are considerably lighter. Instead of 18 carat gold, these are made of plaster, spray-painted gold and cost only 3 dollars.

Potter Vuong Hong Nhat came up with the idea during the last World Cup, but only made them for his family and friends. This year he started selling them, and almost immediately other businesses in the village copied his idea, making him a minor local celebrity.

‘Something fun’

Twenty-four other families make the trophies now, says 23-year-old Thu, who works at her family’s ceramic factory in the village.

“It’s something fun, you can put it in your window, on your table, something like that,” she says.

APReplicas of the FIFA World Cup trophy are sprayed with gold paint.

Asked if there is ever any variation in the model, Thu says no. “People like the size because it’s the same size as the FIFA trophy. And of course they want a gold cup, not a different colour.” Everyone sells the trophies for the same price, too, she says.

From his workshop Vuong Nghi Van, 52, delicately takes the mould off his latest trophy.

“The most I make is 50 per day,” he says. “We receive orders from all over the city. Lots of shops in Hanoi sell them.” After removing the mould, the trophy will be fired in a kiln for 30 minutes and left to dry in the sun.

“Vietnamese people love football,” Van says. “In Vietnam we don’t play football very well, but we love watching foreign teams play, I really like Chelsea.” “It’s a big pity the (World Cup) games are on so late here,” he adds ruefully. “We lose a lot of sleep watching the games.”

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