Aug 13, 2019 / 14:36

Vietnam seeks UNESCO recognition of Dong Ho folk painting

The Hanoitimes - Dong Ho folk painting was ranked national cultural intangible heritage, in traditional craft category in December 2012.

The dossiers on Dong Ho folk painting compiled by the Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Art Studies are nearly concluded to apply for the UNESCO’ recognition as an intangible cultural heritage that needs urgent safeguarding, Vietnam News reported.
Illustrative photo.
Illustrative photo.
The dossiers will be appraised by the National Heritage Council in December and continue to be elaborated before being submitted to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc for approval.

Dong Ho folk painting, or Dong Ho folk woodcut painting, is a school of Vietnamese folk painting and a traditional craft created and developed by Dong Ho villagers in Thuan Thanh district in the northern province of Bac Ninh with unique historical, cultural and artistic values.

Dong Ho folk paintings have become vivid symbols of the traditional agriculture society of Vietnamese people as they depict their customs and habits. As black is the main tone of the painting, a black woodcut is indispensable for a Dong Ho drawing. Then there is one woodcut for each color to print the painting.

Especially, the paper used for Dong Ho folk painting is made of the bark of tree named “do” and powder of seashells and glutinous rice while colors are made from natural materials easily found in the surroundings of the northern Vietnamese farmers.

There are seven main types of Dong Ho paintings including those for worshiping; congratulating; depicting historical event; telling a story; teaching proverbs; landscape, and portraying daily life.

The production of the paintings comprises of creating the image patterns and carving the image into the surface of the woodblock. The pattern creation and the carving are the most important stages of production which decide the survival of the handicraft village.  

Dong Ho folk painting was ranked national cultural intangible heritage, in traditional craft category in December 2012. However, it is facing the risk of falling into oblivion due to the impacts of the market economy, which in turn, leading to the change of people’s understanding for aesthetic value.

The clientele of Dong Ho painting is small, as a result, now fewer households keep their traditional craft.

Vietnam has so far earned UNESCO recognition for 17 world cultural heritages including 12 intangible ones.

The country is submitting dossiers on the ‘Then’ Singing Practice of Tay, Nung, and Thai ethnic people; Xoe Thai Arts and Cham ethnic pottery to UNESCO.