About 33km away from Hanoi to the east and close to the south bank of Duong river dike, Ho or Dong Ho village is a traditional craft village in Vietnam. This is the cradle of the famous folk wood carving line, with paintings that have long entered the spiritual life of the Vietnamese people.
Introduction to Dong Ho Painting Village
What is Dong Ho Painting?
Dong Ho painting, or the full name of Dong Ho folk wood carving, is a Vietnamese folk painting with origin from Dong Ho village (Song Ho commune, Thuan Thanh district, Bac Ninh province). Previously, Dong Ho paintings were sold mainly for the Lunar New Year, the rural people bought paintings on the wall.
Appearing from around the sixteenth century, Dong Ho painting was formed by manual methods, a crystallization of ingenuity and patience, plus delicate aesthetic art. These are not painted pictures inspirational but reprinted through engravings and in order to have an inscription that reaches the sophistication, demands of the stylist as well as the person who carved the board must have artistic love and high technical level.
Printing paper and color of Dong Ho painting
In addition to the characteristics of the lines and composition, the folk style of Dong Ho painting is also in the color and paper material. Dong Ho painting paper is called a scallop paper: people crush the scallop shell, a kind of thin shellfish in the sea, mixed with the glue (the glue is cooked from glutinous rice flour, or sticky rice, sometimes cooked with tapioca – The glue used to sweep the painting background is often diluted from glutinous rice flour or tapioca, the glue cooked from sticky rice flour is often used to paste) and then use the pine leaf broom to sweep the paper. Pine leaf brooms create jars running along sweeping lines and natural scallops for white with glittering small pieces under the light, people can add other colors to the glue during the process of making scallop paper. Colors used in paintings are natural colors from plants such as black (coarse coal or bamboo charcoal), green (copper rust, indigo leaves), yellow (lily), red (red gravel, wine), etc. These are fairly basic colors, do not be mixed and because the number of colors corresponds to the number of wood carvings, usually Dong Ho paintings only use 4 colors.
The Meaning of Dong Ho Painting
Dong Ho painting has a lasting vitality and is particularly attractive to many generations of Vietnamese people as well as foreign tourists because of the themes on the paintings reflecting the rustic, simple and close life associated with Vietnamese culture.
They are chickens, buffaloes, toads, rats, goofers, funny games on the spring-like blindfolded goats, swinging, wrestling, etc. The drawing is simple, clear, generous, not elaborate in details. Artisan Nguyen Dang Che said that the use of colors in paintings also has its own meaning and must be suitable for each different topic: the red background for jealousy to describe the heat and anger and suffocation of the air at that time, the yellow background for the joyful scene was filled with spring colors on the New Year’s paintings, the light pink background for peaceful village pictures, etc.
The Best Time to Visit Dong Ho Painting Village
According to Dong Ho village tourism experience, the best time for you to visit is in the last months and the spring months of the year. This time in Vietnam the weather is cold, you can combine the sightseeing and buy pictures of Dong Ho village to save your visit to Dong Ho village.
How to Get to Dong Ho Painting Village
From Hanoi, you want to go to Dong Ho village, tourists go down National Highway 5 (the road to Hai Phong) about 15km to Phu Thuy station, then turn left, then keep going about 18 km to Ho Street, the district of Thuan Thanh district. From here turn left and go about 2km to Ho village. Visitors can also go all the way to Ho Street and then up the dike, turn left to the second dike watch wharf will have a signpost to Dong Ho.
The simpler way is to take the 204 bus (VND 22,000) to Thuan Thanh, Bac Ninh, then call a taxi or take a motorbike to Dong Ho village.