Dong Ho Painting Village

Dong Ho Painting Village
UPDATED: 31 Oct 2016 122 Views

Folk painting is one of the special cultural features of Vietnam. Since the ancient time, there have been a lot of painting villages, such as Dong Ho village (Bac Ninh province), Hang Trong village (Hanoi), Kim Hoang village (Ha Tay province), Nam Hoanh village (Nghe An province), Sinh village (Hue city), and other villages in the south and mountainous areas.

Dong Ho village Dong Ho village

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About Dong Ho village

Dong Ho is located on the southern side of the Duong river (40km to the east of Hanoi) is one of the villages that preserves ancient cultural relics of Kinh Bac area (Red river delta, north of Vietnam).

Dong Ho painting is printed by hand on the surface of wooden plate. Each printing colour has its own engraved board. The black one is printed last. Thanks to this way, paintings are made in bulk and do not require sophisticated techniques.

Dong Ho village Dong Ho village

Dong Ho paintings mainly reflect the aspiration for a peaceful, happy and prosperous life. Dear animals in people’s life, such as cow, pig, dog, cat and chicken are also depicted in a lot of paintings. Especially, some paintings like “catching coconuts”, “mice wedding” and “jealously” attract the attention of many domestic and foreign visitors.

The painting fair is annually held on Tet holiday in the communal house in Dong Ho village, which draws a large number of tourists. From the afternoon of March 14th (lunar calendar), shoddy goods competition is also held at the same place. Painting fair is a distinctive cultural feature of Dong Ho villagers.

Printing paper and painting colour

The printing paper is made from the bark of a tree called “Dzo”. The background paper is originally white. People use natural materials to change the colours of the paper which are usually orange, pink, yellow, purple, etc. colours of the paintings are refined from various kinds of tree leaves that can be easily found in Vietnam. Particularly, the red colour is taken from earth of hills and mountains; the black colour is from the coal of burned bamboo’s leaves; the glitter white colour is made of sea shells. The original point of Dong Ho folk painting is the durability of colours. The painting is finally covered with a layer of sticky rice paste (called “ho nep”) to protect the paintings and their colours. They are so long lasting that it is very difficult to make them dimmer due to time or light.