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Youths preserve Dong Ho painting art
Linh Nguyen
Friday,  Oct 7, 2016,00:36 (GMT+7)

Youths preserve Dong Ho painting art

Linh Nguyen

A father and his daughter join hands to create a painting

Ingo, a group of three young girls who are passionate to preserve and promote Dong Ho painting art, has launched a learning tool which kids aged between 6 and 10 can use to print Dong Ho paintings at home.

Dong Ho is a kind of folk painting carved in wood and originating in Dong Ho Village in Song Ho Commune in Thuan Thanh District in the northern province of Bac Ninh. In the past, Dong Ho paintings were always hung on the wall during the Lunar New Year holiday (or Tet) in the north of Vietnam. In the twelfth lunar month, people came to bazaars to buy necessary items for Tet, including some Dong Ho paintings to pray for good luck and prosperity.

The elderly loved such paintings because of their lively depictions of the traditions and customs of northern people and their criticisms of bad habits of people in society.

There were over 150 households making Dong Ho paintings before 1945, but now only two are left.

An artisan shows a kid how to print out Dong Ho paintings - PHOTOS: LINH NGUYEN

Local authorities are in the process of seeking UNESCO’s recognition of Dong Ho paintings as the world’s intangible cultural heritage.

The Ingo (in Vietnamese: wood printing) project, which is sponsored by the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development from the Netherlands, held a free-entrance exhibition in mid-September in HCMC’s District 1 to promote Dong Ho paintings to locals and to give children and their parents a chance to print out any paintings they like.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai, founder and leader of the project, said that during her overseas studies, she and her international friends joined many events to introduce cultural heritages of their countries. Mai didn’t know what to show but later chose to talk about a Dong Ho painting which was given by her mom.

After her return to Vietnam in 2014, Mai traveled to Bac Ninh to visit Dong Ho Village and meet local artisan Nguyen Huu Sam. This short trip strengthened Mai’s determination to preserve the precious Dong Ho paintings.

Playing with Ingo

Ingo is a collection of carved wooden boards and small wooden frames featuring Dong Ho paintings that depict kids, animals and insects.

A mother identified as Thu Trang in District 1 said this tool is helpful for her son on weekends. “He can get hands-on knowledge of the folk art,” she said. Van Anh, a student of Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University, said making Dong Ho paintings reminds her of folk games which she played with friends during her childhood.

Ingo is planning more activities and products to promote the art of Dong Ho to local schools. The group is searching for exhibition locations in Hanoi to bring Dong Ho art to kids in the capital city.

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