Tết event celebrates folk art and calligraphy

Update: January, 21/2017 - 08:30
Displaying calligraphic works used to decorate houses during Lunar New Year celebrations is a tradition of Vietnamese people. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Tết (Lunar New Year)-themed paintings have long been a fixture of local celebrations, with flamboyant colours used to send New Year wishes.

This year children will have a chance to discover traditional Tết paintings at Văn (Literature) Lake, part of Văn Miếu – Quốc Tử Giám (Temple of Literature – First National University) relics in Hà Nội.

Starting from January 21, the programme will introduce a range of ancient painting genres from across the country, including Hàng Trống (Hà Nội), Đông Hồ and Kim Hoàng (the northern province of Bắc Ninh), and Sình Village (the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế).

Visitors will be able to see examples of the paintings, and learn to print and paint their own under the instruction of artisans.

The event is part of a project called ‘Joining Children in Getting Creative’, launched by art critic Trang Thanh Hiền from the Việt Nam University of Fine Arts. The central aim of the project is to create a playground or art space that is dedicated to traditional values. Through it, children would learn more about traditional art and culture.

Folk paintings are a combination of traditional cultural values and ancient artistic methods, which have been created by past generations. Vietnamese folk paintings were used to decorate houses during New Year celebrations, driving away evil and bringing good luck for the coming year.

"We want to maintain traditional activities in modern life, especially nurturing children’s love for traditional culture," Hiền said.

“As the Year of Rooster is coming, the event will focus on folk paintings of roosters.”

Beside the discovery of folk paintings, the Văn Miếu – Quốc Tử Giám Cultural and Scientific Centre will also organise the Spring Calligraphy Festival as usual.

It has been a tradition for Hanoians when visiting the Temple of Literature to have meaningful words written in calligraphy, with the hope of attracting good luck in the New Year.

On red or yellow (poonah) papers, calligraphers write words in traditional script such as Phúc (Happiness), Lộc (Prosperity) and Thọ (Longevity) along with other sayings intended to bring good health, luck and prosperity for those in attendance.

This year, more than 100 calligraphers selected from clubs and writing competitions will participate in the activity. Experienced calligraphers like Cung Khắc Lược, Nguyễn Thế Anh and Nguyễn Thế Lục will also attend the event.

In the framework of the festival, an exhibition of calligraphic works and traditional crafts such as pottery, paper making, embroidery, wood carving and bronze casting will be organised.

Lê Xuân Kiêu, director of the centre, said the calligraphers, wearing áo dài (long robes), will sit in 50 bamboo tents following traditional manners of the past.

“We select the calligraphers carefully. Only those who pass a qualifying test are eligible to join the activity, which will be strictly monitored by the organiser to ensure visitors are overcharged.”

The events will take place from January 21 to February 11 at Văn (Literature) Lake, Quốc Tử Giám Street, Hà Nội. — VNS