Preservation efforts made as folk paintings face disintegration hinh anh 1An artisan puts final touches on a Dong Ho painting (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Many people across Vietnam are working to preserve folk painting genres which face extinction.

Folk paintings were once associated with the spiritual life of Vietnamese people as they were usually used for worship or decoration during the Lunar New Year festival.

Famous genres include Dong Ho (northern Bac Ninh province), Hang Trong and Kim Hoang (Hanoi), Nam Hoanh (central Nghe An province), Sinh (central Hue city), and glass paintings (southern region).

Nguyen Huu Qua, an artisan in Dong Ho village of Bac Ninh province’s Thuan Thanh district, said in folk painting’s prime, the entire village was busy around the Lunar New Year occasion.

But life has changed, and not many people buy Dong Ho paintings any more, forcing artisans to make votive paper objects to survive, he said.

Nguyen Sinh Phuc, deputy head of the Junior College for culture, arts and tourism in northern Yen Bai province, also raised concerns about the oblivion of the Dao ethnic people’s paintings.

Local people sold old worship paintings away and bought new ones. New paintings, drawn with modern materials in a simpler way, have undermined the original values of traditional paintings, he said.

Phuc added the making of worship paintings could also be lost due to a shortage of young people who can maintain the craft.

However, there are still people preserving folk paintings. While Le Dinh Nghien and his son Le Hoan have upheld the painting genre of Hang Trong, families of Nguyen Dang Che, Nguyen Dang Giap and Nguyen Huu Sam are working to keep Dong Ho paintings alive. Artisan Ky Huu Phuoc has also applied himself to creating folk paintings in Sinh village of Hue city.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Thu Hoa, Director of the Hanoi Ceramics Museum, has invested many years in a project revitalising Kim Hoang paintings, a genre that has long been abandoned by local artisans.

This project aims to restore 50 old painting designs and create new ones, she said, noting that her staff will confer with the elderly in Kim Hoang village of Hanoi about the painting making, find the same type of paper as the traditional one, and learn the original printing method.

The project has received support from Kim Hoang villagers, Hoa added.

The Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, based in Hanoi, has also studied the country’s folk paintings and collected about 2,670 relevant objects.

It has made copies of Hang Trong paintings and sought Sinh painting woodblocks. The museum is also collecting products of the painting genres which no longer exist, a museum representative said.-VNA