Preserving Folk Painting

Published:  10:28 Saturday - December 01, 2012

Preserving Folk Painting

Dong Ho folk painting, the hundred-year-old painting genre in Vietnam that has been famous both domestically and internationally for its bright colours and unique beauty, is falling into obligation because of the change of people’s taste. To preserve the traditional craft, artisan Nguyen Dang Che has spent several years holding on to the art and establishing the Dong Ho Folk Painting Cultural Centre.

The Dong Ho Folk Painting Cultural Centre was located in the painting village of Dong Ho, Song Ho Commune, Thuan Thanh District in Bac Ninh Province. The Centre’s design is typical rural architecture of Vietnam that consists of three roofed-tile compartments, a brick-paved yard, a large pond and garden, all creating a very familiar rural space.

Artisan Nguyen Dang Che introduces the painting “Mice’s wedding”.

It is both the place for artisans to create paintings and displaying folk paintings and ancient woodblocks. With great efforts put out by himself and his five sons, artisan Nguyen Dang Che has developed the Centre and obtained great success.

“Flock of chickens”.

The Centre is considered a museum of the Dong Ho folk paintings as it now preserves more than 100 rare, 200-year-old woodblocks, thousands of blocks and hundreds of painting samples of different kinds, such as a set of precious paintings “Thach Sanh” (dating from hundreds of years ago), familiar paintings “Mice’s wedding”, “Coconut catching”, ”Herd of pigs”, “Jealousy”, etc.

According to artisan Nguyen Dang Che, although just operating for over a year, the Centre has received thousands of domestic and foreign visitors. Europeans and Asians are particularly interested in the works and often purchase pieces.


At the Centre we met a delegation of French tourists and a group of South Korean students who all said these paintings are quite lovely especially the paintings that are made completely of natural materials.

“Herd of pigs”.

Apart from paintings printed on the traditional paper – Diep (poonah), bamboo-curtain calendars, refined greeting cards, the artisan has also created new woodblocks, copies from the originals that are used for decoration purposes.

To make a complete painting, there must be several woodblocks.

Engraving a woodblock.

Tourists are interested in the process of printing a Dong Ho folk painting.  

Foreign tourists show great interests in Dong Ho folk paintings.

After many years of working hard, artisan Nguyen Dang Che is pleased with what he has obtained. He and the Centre have made a great contribution to restoring and preserving the beauty and unique features of the Vietnamese folk painting genre.


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