Historical information

Dong Ho is on the Duong River in Bắc Ninh Province, Vietnam. The woodcut painting (Tranh khắc gỗ dân gian Dong Ho is a line of Vietnamese folk painting originating in Dong Ho village. The traditional themes of Dong Ho painting are good luck signs, historical figures, folk allegories, popular stories, and social commentaries. Elements of everyday life are well integrated in Dong Ho paintings to express the thoughts and wishes of people. (Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%90%C3%B4ng_H%E1%BB%93_painting, accessed 11 April 2017.)

Craftsmen in Dong Ho use a special type of paper named giấy điệp. The bark of dó tree, which normally is grown in Tuyên Quang Province, is soaked in water for months, then mixed with powders of seashells (sò điệp), which is the origin of the paper's name, and glutinous rice to make sheets of paper. The s seashell and glutinous rice results in paper with an exotic sparkling hard background which is able to conserve the durability of colours. The colours are refined from natural materials which are easily found in Vietnam. For instance, the red colour is taken from red gravel in Thiên Thai Mountain, while the black comes from charcoal of burned bamboo leaves. The hand carved woodblock is applied with paint and pressed on a sheet of paper like a stamp. The process is repeated with different colours until the craftsman is satisfied with the outcome. One woodcut is for outline and several others are for each colour printed. The finished picture is covered with a layer of rice paste (hồ nếp) to strengthen the durability of its illustration and colours and afterwards dried under the sun. From beginning to end the process takes six to seven months. (Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%90%C3%B4ng_H%E1%BB%93_painting, accessed 11 April 2017.)

The tradition of Đông Hồ painting dates back to the 11th century during the reign of the Lý Dynasty. Originally, Đông Hồ paintings were made with black-and-white prints of woodcuts, but from the 15th century, different colours were introduced by craftsmen in the village. As a village specialized in making woodcuts and paintings, almost all Đông Hồ villagers were involved in the manufacturing of paintings from carving the woodblocks, producing điệp papers, obtaining natural colours to creating new themes, and printing.(Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%90%C3%B4ng_H%E1%BB%93_painting, accessed 11 April 2017.)

Before 1945 over 150 families in Đông Hồ village were making pictures, but the tradition has rapidly faded. Villagers can no longer make a living based on this production so only a few households in the village still make pictures, while many others have switched to producing joss paper and votive paper object.(Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%90%C3%B4ng_H%E1%BB%93_painting, accessed 11 April 2017.)

Physical description

A framed collection of work by children from Dong Ho Village, Vietnam.