The People’s Committee of Bac Ninh province has approved a project worth nearly 60 billion VND (2.86 million USD) to preserve its signature Dong Ho folk painting, which is on the brink of falling into oblivion.

From now to 2016, the province will spend 2.1 billion VND (100,000 USD) on reviving and developing this type of paintings, which is among the northern locality’s finest properties.

A centre will also be set up by 2020 at a cost of 50 billion VND (2.38 million USD) to preserve and uphold their values.

Notably, Bac Ninh will compile a dossier seeking for the UNESCO’s recognition of the genre as part of the intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent protection. The work will be carried out between now and 2016, using 7.8 billion VND (371,400 USD).

In the short term, the province will make an in-depth study of the genre’s values, examine its current state, and forecast risks of oblivion, thus creating a database for the dossier.

The project is implemented by the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Thuan Thanh People’s Committee, and the Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies.

Dong Ho painting is a form of woodcut prints originating from Dong Ho village, now Dong Khe hamlet, in Song Ho commune, Thuan Thanh district.

Traditionally, craftsmen used raw materials from nature, making sheets of printing paper from the bark of the “do” (poonah) tree and creating colours from earth, burnt bamboo leaves and sea shells.

Dong Ho painting reflects a wide range of themes, especially good luck wishes, historical figures, and folk allegories. In the past, it was part of the essential decorations in each Vietnamese house during the traditional Tet (Lunar New Year) festival.

According to villagers, the painting dates back to the 11th century during the Ly dynasty (1009-1225). However, researchers believe the craft began under the rule of the Le dynasty (1428-1788).-VNA