Joining hands to preserve Dong Ho folk paintings

09/11/2020 14:01 Số lượt xem: 213

(BNP) – Since many generations now, Dong Ho village in Song Ho commune, Thuan Thanh district has a traditional painting profession, reflecting people's dreams and aspirations of a full and happy life.

Illustrative photo.

Dong Ho paintings are made using traditional manual methods with raw materials from nature, including wood carvings printed on do (Poonah) paper using colors from the earth, burnt bamboo leaves, and seashells. Featuring many different forms, including worship, celebration and life, they directly reflect the faithful and spiritual life of the people in the northern delta. The uniqueness in materials, colours and artistic images has made Dong Ho folk paintings not only a valuable Vietnamese heritage but also popular with international friends. The folk painting style was honoured as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2012.

Although the technique of making Dong Ho folk paintings has been preserved, the style has faced many challenges due to the many ups and downs of history. According to old documents, there were still 17 families making the traditional paintings as well as numerous workshops in the village by early 1945. Then many households gave up the craft of making folk paintings to make votive papers or do other jobs to earn living. According to Deputy Director of Bac Ninh provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Anh, only two families of artisans Nguyen Dang Che and Nguyen Huu Sam in Dong Ho Village maintain the craft. The village’s prosperity is only echoed in the villagers’ memories.

However, people who have a deep passion for the craft have made efforts to preserve and spread the vitality of Dong Ho paintings. The improvements in economic life have led to increasing demand for spiritual life and a trend of returning to traditional cultural values, inspiring them to rejuvenate this painting style.

Facing the danger of losing a line of traditional paintings, in June 2014, Bac Ninh provincial People’s Committee approved a project on “protecting and promoting the value of Dong Ho folk painting cultural heritage in Thuan Thanh District for 2014-2020 period with an orientation until 2030” with a total cost of nearly VND60 billion from the state budget and other sources. The submission to UNESCO for the recognition of the genre as part of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent protection is expected to offer a great opportunity to revive the Dong Ho painting village.

In March 2017, the Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee approved the detailed outline of the National Candidate's Formation to request UNESCO to include Dong Ho's folk painting profession on the list of tangible cultural heritage in need of urgent protection. This is a good sign showing efforts to preserve and preserve the precious painting line against the danger of dying. Up to now, the profile has been completed and signed by the Prime Minister to submit to UNESCO.

In particular, Bac Ninh province has also invested in building Dong Ho folk paintings conservation center with a cost of up to VND 91 billion. The center is located in Song Ho commune and Dai Dong Thanh commune (Thuan Thanh district) with an area of 19,282m2.

On the other hand, Bac Ninh province is also implementing projects to encourage businesses to focus on promoting community tours such as Thuan Thanh, Dau pagoda route - But Thap pagoda - Dong Ho painting village; promote cooperation with neighboring provinces and cities to diversify destination schedules; strengthen activities of promoting Dong Ho folk paintings to schools, international markets ... contributing to making a cultural product into a brand name and as a tool to introduce Vietnamese culture to the world.