A cultural programme entitled Chuyện sơn mài Việt Nam (The story of Vietnamese lacquer painting) was held at Kim Ngân Temple, 42-44 Hàng Bạc Street last weekend.– Photo tuoitre.vn
HÀ NỘI – A cultural programme entitled Chuyện sơn mài Việt Nam (The story of Vietnamese lacquer painting) was held at Kim Ngân Temple, 42-44 Hàng Bạc Street last weekend.
The programme’s aim is to promote and honour traditional lacquer painting, the work of making it and its current development.
The programme is co-organised by the Hà Nội Old Quarter Board of Management, Hà Nội Intermediate Vocational School, Phúc Cường Limited Company, the Vietnamese Sơn Ta artist group and Tam Sơn International Limited Company.
Items painted by lacquer included a large pot and a boat of lotus flowers, attracting viewers with a beam of light bronze.
“This programme is organised to celebrate Liberation Day on April 30 and International Labour Day on May 1. More important, lacquer painting is being submitted to UNESCO as a new intangible cultural heritage of Việt Nam by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, in cooperation with South Korean peers. This is the best way, for us, to preserve one of the traditional crafts of Việt Nam,” said Trần Thị Thúy Lan, deputy head of the Hà Nội Old Quarter Board of Management.
According to researchers and artists, like other traditional crafts, lacquer painting is on the edge of falling into oblivion, as the use of overseas lacquer materials are overwhelming domestic materials.
“The development of lacquer painting is attached to the development of the foundation of Vietnamese fine arts. Therefore, this is a significant tradition to the growth of our country. The transgression of overseas painting materials have made it impossible for resin, a stuff extracted from the sơn tree, to be used in the market. Plus, our craft villages are not equipped to be able to meet buyers’ demands. We need to act now before it’s too late,” said Nguyễn Huy An, a lacquer painter.
In addition, specialists also ponder the difficulties of preserving Vietnamese lacquer painting today.
“At present, several traditional techniques of lacquer painting are being lost. Due to competition with overseas materials, the price of domestic materials is getting cheaper. Tourists are not finding value in Vietnamese lacquer works anymore. Each painting is only sold for VNĐ300,000-400,000 (US$13-18), said Nguyễn Đình Bảng, head of Hà Nội Intermediate Vocational School’s Fine Arts Faculty.
"Lacquer painters are not able to make a living, and we are now even losing the key material, the resin of the sơn tree. If our products were not bought by overseas buyers, we would have lost our jobs a long time ago. We also have to face a lack of knowledge about lacquer in universities, documents about lacquer work and museums that display traditional lacquer. I hope this exhibition will prompt urgent action by the Government and related organisations to save our precious treasure,”
The programme will also be held at the Old Quarter Cultural Exchange Centre, 50 Đào Duy Từ Street and the House of Heritage, 87 Mã Mây Street, till May 2. -- VNS