Sinh village, a traditional craft village producing paper pictures for ritual ornamental purposes in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, is starting production ahead of Tet (Lunar New Year).

First artisans create black and white wood-block prints, which they then paint with various colours. "Many wholesalers in other central provinces have sent us orders," said Ky Huu Phuoc, one of the artisans in the village.

Built in the 15th century on the bank of the Perfume River, Sinh village has been well-known for the traditional craft of folk woodblock painting with plain glyphs and traditional colours of red, green, yellow and black, reflecting people’s innermost feelings, wishes and simple dreams.

As is the belief of Hue residents, each person has their own fate and they are protected and helped by each year’s genies. Therefore, people want to worship to drive away the bad and welcome the good that leads to the birth of the craft.

Many Vietnamese have an altar for the kitchen god in the kitchen. They also keep the old tradition of Mau (Mother) worshipping and devote an altar to this purpose. Pictures of Mau, like other ritual pictures, are replaced once a year on the threshold of Tet.

Sinh painting is printed from folk woodblock painting for worshipping in Hue. The difference between Sinh painting and Dong Ho, Hang Trong painting is its function. The Dong Ho painting is hang for decoration while the Sinh painting will be burnt after worship.

The paintings are made using just one printing-board which is created from jack wood. It is durable, worm resistant and easy to carve to create the drawing lines and black shapes. After being printed in black, the work is sometimes completed with embellishments made with colourful lines. Some paintings are still printed on rustic paper.

The paintings of Sinh village focus on mainly 50 different themes which reflect the ancient credence and three main topics groups: Pictures of characters including female statues, kitchen statues, and baby pictures; those of animals printing 12 zodiac animals; and those of objects drawing different kinds of clothes, utensils, arrows or things to worship such as female coats, male coats, soldier coats.

Ky Huu Phuoc and 50 other families will devote themselves to the craft from now until Tet, which occurs on January 31. The pictures will replace older ones on altars of the chicken god, male god and female god.

Despite its ups and downs, the painting school is still preserved and developed in Hue with more diverse themes, such as nature, houses, streets and daily activities, making a contribution to reflecting the spiritual life, cultural value and aspiration for a happy, well-off and peaceful life.-VNA