“Đông Hồ paintings are featured with popular scenes in vivid contours
And national colors shining on điệp paper”
Experiencing two centuries of heyday, Dong Ho painting is considered a fine reflection of the Vietnamese lifestyle in different walks of life. “Dong Ho paintings reflect human beings”, there goes a saying. In fact, one can see in such paintings various vividly-portrayed themes, from historical figures, folk tales and popular stories to daily activities like Đám cưới chuột (Rat’s Wedding Ceremony), Chăn trâu thổi sáo (Herds-boy playing the flute on his buffalo), Đánh ghen (A scene of jealousy) or Hứng dừa (Catching coconuts), etc.
Dong Ho painting requires not only an artist’s skills and artistic aspiration but also a sense of daily life crystallized in his innate sensitivity. A painting, colorful or gloomy, is a simple story implicated in each and every line of drawing, colors and annotate. Through familiar images, such as a herd of chickens, a herd of pigs, herds-boys, or country girl, Dong Ho paintings provide us with simple slides of our ancestors’ life, ideology and never-outdated philosophy and outlook on life.
Unfortunately, hardly are Dong Ho pictures protected from harsh ups and downs over the past six centuries. At present, only two skilled craftsmen are continuing their fondness
of the traditional painting craft despite the fact that there once were more than 20 families involved in producing the paintings. What are the reasons for these well-known paintings to have been dominated by their modern industrial siblings?
“It is the Dong Ho paintings that should be chosen as a representative of our nation. What a shame! Such remaining hues of the nation are fading away,” pitifully exclaimed some researcher. Undeniably, though being conferred the title “National Heritage”, Dong Ho paintings can survive unstably thanks to the efforts of those two veteran artisans. How long can the unique paintings of Bac Ninh Province exist in modern life? Can this “National Heritage” be transferred to next generations? Is there any chance for young people to enjoy vivid masterpieces on điệp papers and fully grasp historical layers within each painting?
A lot of such concerns and questions are surely to come to our mind whenever we admire Dong Ho paintings.
Author: Hà Lemmy
Translators: Nguyễn Thị Ngân
Editor: Nguyễn Xuân Hồng
Windy Day 8: Vietnamese national hues
Tôi xê dịch warmly welcomes you to enjoy a full-day trip to Dong Ho Village, the cradle of the original paintings, where you can discover and decode historical sense contained on điệp papers and share concerns with one of two the last artisans. You will also have a first-hand unforgetable experience in directly creating such national colors in our Windy Day 8 titled ”Dong Ho painting – The convergence of national hues.”
Let trace back a national treasure together with “Tôi xê dịch”!
Time: 8 a.m – 4 p.m, 07/07/2013
Venue: Cultural Exchange Centre for Dong Ho paintings, Dong Khe village, Song Ho Commune, Thuan Thanh district, Bac Ninh province.
Ticket: VND 200,000/person