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Dong Ho Folk Paintings
Dong Ho folk paintings are popular with most Vietnamese people, but especially those in the Red River region. Dong Ho folk paintings, short for Dong Ho folk woodcut painting, is a line of Vietnamese folk painting originating in Dong Ho Village (Bac Ninh province) around the 17th century. This place has a productive land, agricultural development, rich cultural life, which becomes a cradle of a rustic painting. Not only is it attractive, unique in color, harmonious in composition and sophisticated in the layout of the painting but it is also made of the completely natural material, which perhaps only has in Vietnam.
Dong Ho Folk Paintings.
Dong Ho painting is often bought and decorated in Tet holiday. This is an elegant pleasure, a beautiful custom of the Vietnamese, especially in the Northern Delta. Every Lunar New Year, whether the rich or the poor, in addition to Chung cake, fatty meat, pickle, red couplets and traditional paintings are also indispensable things. These colorful folk paintings make the atmosphere cozier and merrily. However, Dong Ho painting is not the illustration of the New Year but it brings the wishes and blessing for a happy and prosperous new year through folk and close symbols.
With the abundance and diversity of style, genre and theme, Dong Ho painting reflect almost everything that happens in the idyllic life of Vietnamese people such as Picking Coconut, Jealously Scene, Herding Buffalo to beautiful dreams or human aspirations for better life such as Chickens, Pigs, Eminence, Prosperity and Honour,… It also contains implication and the reminder about right and wrong things in life and brings an optimistic and affectionate look for the future
The first unique attraction of Dong Ho painting is the color and paper material. The paper used for printing Dong Ho painting is điệp paper, obtained from dó tree. It has some outstanding features: thin, high-fiber, easy to absorb color and not being blurred out when printing. The powder is made from the heated scallop shell, mashed and then mixed with the glue of glutinous rice, then scanned on paper with a bloom. Due to the elements of seashell and glutinous rice, điệp paper possesses a glamorous sparkling hard background. It can be said in Dong Ho painting, only the shine of the background is enough to make it attractive.
In addition, color printing is also a unique feature in the process of creation. All colors are made from flowers, leaves, fruits, trees in nature such as the black color taken from bamboo charcoal; the yellow color is taken from luscious; the green color taken from indigo leaves,…In that way, a Dong Ho painting can retain its colors for a long time.Dong Ho Folk Paintings
The meaning of each Dong Ho painting is understood slightly differently by different viewer. People of different ages and with different life experience may have different ideas about a painting. For example, the painting “Pigs” which depicts a mother pig with circles on her body and a group of piglets, is said by some symbolize wealth and prosperity while farmers say this painting is about the right way to select and care for pigs. Luu Duy Dan, Vice President of Vietnamese Craft Village Association, says: “Dong Ho paintings are artifacts of Vietnamese culture games. For example, paintings showing a graduate returning home to his family, a Rat’s wedding, and catching coconuts depict cultural traditions concerned with education and life lessons”.
Dong Ho paintings bear significant historical, cultural and artistic values reflecting the beliefs and daily activities of people in the Red River Delta. This art genre has been recognized as a national intangible heritage. This recognition is expected to help preserve and develop the art while increasing the public’s awareness of traditional cultural values.