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Poor sales spoil mood at Hue crafts festival

Update: May, 04/2015 - 16:44
A Hue royal dance performed at the closing ceremony. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu

Phuoc Buu

THUA THIEN - HUE (VNS) — The Hue Craft Village Festival ended yesterday (May 3), after a six-day event in which 34 craft villages from around the country participated by displaying their handicraft skills and products.

The artisans began packing yesterday afternoon, to take their items home. The mood among them was not very happy because of poor sales during the festival.

A local artisan, who did not want to be named, said the daily revenue of all the stores set up at the pedestrian street, which was the festival's central venue for several days, was about VND10 million (US$463).

The festival organisers have not announced the revenue earned from sales yet. But it was observed that sales were low because almost all the products were the same as the ones sold during the three previous festivals.

Earlier, the festival's closing ceremony was held on Saturday night for the participants and the audience. But experts said the organisers failed to convey a message at the event this year, as the motifs were the same but less attractive.

The ritual ceremony for offering sacrifices to the inventors of various crafts. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu

A ritual ceremony was also conducted that day to offer sacrifice to the inventors of the crafts. However, experts wondered if that was proper as the inventors of each Vietnamese craft has his own place of origin and location. The rituals were not the same as well.

Ky Huu Phuoc, an artisan of Sinh paper painting from Hue, said the organisers did not know the proper clothing for those attending the ceremony. "Blue ao dai (the Vietnamese national costume) is meant for those under the age of 80. Those who are younger shouldn't wear it," he said.

An elderly person from Huong Long Village, who was invited to manage the ceremony, said he found the ritual process to be quite weird.

The only remarkable emphasis at the festival was the revival of old values through exhibitions.

Fifty patterns found on tombs, statues and ritual items during the period of the Nguyen Lords, who later formed the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), were added to truc chi paper sheets for the exhibition.

A painting, with mother-of-pearl, depicts the country's last king Bao Dai. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu

Truc chi is a kind of artistic paper that allows the use of graphic designs to make each sheet an individual art item. Meanwhile, the collection of old patterns is part of a research by the Viet Nam Institute of Culture and Art Study in Hue.

"The exhibition shows strong acculturation of old values in contemporary art. It helps the ancient patterns reappear in an art form, not as documentation," artist Phan Hai Bang, head of the Truc Chi Team, said.

During the festival, researcher Tran Dinh Son showcased his collection of wooden antiques decorated with mother-of-pearl, including those that were used by the royal family of the Nguyen Dynasty.

Inserting mother-of-pearl into wooden items is a quintessential technique by Vietnamese craftsmen, which the exhibition helped to highlight. — VNS

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