Thuy Kieu and Thuy Van by Dang Tien

Hanoi (VNA) -
Illustrations by famous contemporary painters have given a totally different look to two classics in Vietnamese literature.

The Dong A Book Company has republished Kieu’s Tale by Nguyen Du (1766–1820) and Luc Van Tien’s Tale by Nguyen Dinh Chieu (1822 – 1888) with new paintings being used to illustrate the epics.

The new paintings were put on display and later auctioned in Hanoi for a total of 410 million VND (20,000 USD).

The illustration Doan Vien (Reunion) by Thanh Chuong fetched the highest price at 65 million VND (3,000 USD).

Kieu’s Tale is considered the most famous work in Vietnamese literature. The story about the travails in the life of the beautiful and talented Thuy Kieu has been translated into many languages.

The story of Luc Van Tien is a work where the talent, intelligence and dignity of the main protagonists, Tien and Kieu Nguyet Nga are met with hostility from society at large.

Acting on a suggestion from the Dong A Company, nationally renowned painter Thanh Chuong gathered several peers to join the project.

“Illustrating a masterpiece is a challenge as well as an exciting experience that the artists, whose passion adds colour to the literature, have never had before,” Chuong said.

“With illustrations created by contemporary artists, we want to bring the works closer to modern readers,” he said.

“To preserve our heritage and old values, we can’t just protect the original works, we should also renew them, making them suitable to present life.”

Chuong said the illustrations were very different from those in previous publications. Works were chosen from 15 artists nationwide, capturing the diversity of Vietnamese contemporary fine arts.

Veteran artists like Phan Cam Thuong, Ha Tri Hieu, Nguyen Quan and Nguyen Cong Hoan have contributed their illustrations to the book.

The classics are available at bookshops nationwide for 250,000 VND (12 USD).-VNA