Dong Ho painting – full name Đông Hồ folk woodcut painting is a line of Vietnamese folk painting originating in Đông Hồ village (Song Hồ commune, Thuận Thành District, Bắc Ninh Province – a province located in the Northeast of Hanoi).
With the consent of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with the Provincial People’s Committee of Bắc Ninh and the specialized agencies conducting research, have set records for Đông Hồ folk paintings to be submitted to UNESCO for the recognition of intangible cultural heritage.
Đông Hồ painting is considered a fine reflection of traditional aesthetic value, social philosophies, and humanitarian desires. The traditional themes of Đông Hồ painting are good luck signs, historical figures, folk allegories, popular stories, and social commentaries. Elements of everyday life are well integrated in Đông Hồ paintings to express the thoughts and wishes of people.
Apart from the beauty of lines and layouts, the folk feature of Dong Ho painting also lays on its color and paper; both are handmade and derived from materials available in nature. The paper is made of bark of tree named “do” and powder of seashells and glutinous rice whilst colors of paint used in Dong Ho pictures are processed from various kinds of natural materials easily found in Vietnamese villages. While seashells bring a sparkling white background, glutinous rice makes the paper more supple and able to conserve colors for a long time. The black color is taken from ash of burned bamboo leaves; the red is from red gravel; the yellow is from flowers. All colors are so striking and lively that you seem to see the whole Vietnamese villages through each line, each color block.
Regarding themes of Dong Ho painting, it should be noted that the folk picture is a fine reflection of daily life, culture value, social philosophies and human aspiration for a better life in years coming; therefore, everyday life, folk allegories, social commentaries, mythical and historical figures, signs of happiness, luck, prosperity are main subjects of the painting. If you would like to wish your beloveds prosperity, happiness and luck, pictures named “Lon dan”, “Ga dan”, “Chan trau thoi sau” would be your best choice for a gift. Should you are keen on Vietnamese social commentaries, pictures of “Hung dua”, “Danh ghen” are good bets.