Ceramic exhibition showcases Nguyễn Dynasty-style dragons

June 12, 2024 - 10:18
The dragons displayed at the exhibition are mostly created with inspiration from dragon images cast on Nguyễn Dynasty seals.
The dragons displayed at the exhibition are mostly created with inspiration from dragon images cast on Nguyễn Dynasty seals. — VNA/VNS Photos Tường Vi

HUẾ CITY — A collection of 56 ceramic and gold-plated dragons inspired by the Nguyễn Dynasty are on display at an exhibition in the Kiến Trung Palace in the Huế Imperial Citadel.

The exhibition, themed 'Biểu Tượng Rồng Qua Gốm Trần Độ' (Dragon Symbols through Trần Độ Ceramics), is organised by the Huế Monuments Conservation Centre in collaboration with People's Artist Trần Độ, who created the displayed art.

As part of the ongoing Huế Festival Week 2024, the special exhibition will open until June 18. The festival includes a series of art and culture programmes amid other celebrations taking place at Kiến Trung Palace in the ancient city of Huế in Thừa Thiên-Huế Province.

The event offers viewers the chance to admire Độ's outstanding artistic ceramics, most of which were created with inspiration from dragon images cast on seals of the Nguyễn Dynasty, which ruled from 1802 to 1945.

Visitors can also find the artist's love and passion for ceramics in the dragon images, which hold mesmerising and vivid shapes and patterns that Độ has diligently researched and crafted over decades.

A ceramic dragon created by artisan Trần Độ, inspired by dragon images from the Nguyễn Dynasty.

Director of the Huế Monuments Conservation Centre Hoàng Việt Trung said that to successfully reflect the royal culture and artistic value of Vietnamese dragons, the artist had consulted with the centre and other museums and relic conservation units such as the National History Museum, the Việt Nam Fine Arts Museum and the Thăng Long Imperial Citadel Centre.

He added: "The artist had also researched documents, artifacts and antiques related to the image of the Vietnamese dragon through historical periods, which are extremely necessary for him to build his own creative resources."

Trung hoped the ceramic art and the vividness of the ancient patterns and motifs displayed at the the exhibition would impress visitors and help them understand more about the country's royal history.

People's Artist Trần Độ is a famous name in Vietnamese pottery. He consistently finds unique features for his products, which are imbued with the quintessence of the nation's culture.

Under the talented hands of the so-called 'king of ceramic glaze', the dragon symbol is adapted in an extremely sophisticated manner.

Visitors admire ceramic dragons crafted by Trần Độ at the exhibition.

Độ and his team of about 10 artisans from the famous Bát Tràng Pottery Village on the outskirts of Hà Nội meticulously crafted dragon shapes and designs in a 'rising up' style to express the aspirations of happiness and virtue.

Độ said: "Bát Tràng Village is closely associated with Huế culture not only today, but two or three hundred years ago. The pottery village's artisans have been following their ancestors' traditional craft and always wish to maintain it and to make gifts to Huế. This year, I choose the dragon collection to display at the Huế Festival as a gift to the city too."

To complete this ceramic dragon collection, Độ and his team diligently researched and crafted for a year and a half.

The dragon is the leading symbol out of the four sacred animals of dragon, unicorn, tortoise and phoenix, with each animal embodying various special meanings.

For Vietnamese people, dragons have unparalleled magic power, symbolising the spirit of humanity, nobility, strength, courage and above all, the spirit of wisdom.

In royal imagery, the dragon is a symbol of the absolute authority of the gods, so it became the most popular image in Huế royal art, carrying high aesthetic values. — VNS