Vietnamese art reflects a mixture of influences: Vietnamese
traditional art, influences from China and influence from the French
during the colonial period. Just over a decade ago Vietnam opened
up to the world. The international art market started to see the
talents of Vietnamese artists and the variety of
styles in Vietnamese paintings. Demand for Vietnamese art
is increasing rapidly, especially in France and other countries
Vietnamese Lacquer Painting
items have been found in ancient tombs in Vietnam dating as far back as
the third and fourth centuries B.C. Over the centuries,
Vietnamese master craftsmen and artists have mastered techniques using
lacquer for purpose of decoration and preservation. Lacquer
paintings now can compete successfully with silk and oil paintings and
have the unique character of this style of painting.
comes in three colors - brown, black and vermilion. By the 1930s,
artists started to use a new technique known as chiseling which gives a
richer mix of colors and an added sense of size and distance..
The painting is done on
wood. It is covered with a piece of cloth glued to it using the
sap of the lacquer tree and then coated with a layer of the sap mixed
with earth. The board is then sand papered and recoated with a
layer of hot sap. After polishing, this gives a smooth black
surface with a brilliant luster.
The painter uses hot
lacquer to draw the outline of a picture and the colors are applied one
by one, layer upon layer. Each coat dries slowly.
The finishing touches
consist of polishing and washing the pictures. This process may
seem like brutal treatment for a work of art, but it is done with great
care. This process leaves a brilliant surface on a painting.
Through years of experience and experimentation, the artists use the
addition of other substances such as plant material ash, crushed
eggshells, gold and silver to embelish their works. These additional
substances help the modern artists to express themselves fully and to
further add creativity and individuality of style to their art works
View the Vietnamese Lacquer Paintings