Tet (Lunar New Year) festival paintings of the Sinh village are a combination of traditional culture and ancient artistic methods and have been part of the of the Hue ethnic minority culture for over four centuries.
The village’s paintings mainly reflect an aspiration for a peaceful, happy and prosperous life and often depict the animals in people’s lives such as cows, pigs, dogs, cats and chickens.
A painting fair is annually held each TET holiday season in communal houses in the village, which have always drawn large numbers of tourists. Nowadays, more than 30 families are working feverishly making last minute preparations for the fair.
They are making printing paper from the bark of a tree called ‘Dzo’. The background paper is originally white. They then use natural materials, readily found in Vietnam, to change the colour of the paper to red, orange, pink, yellow or purple.
Particularly, the red colour is taken from earth of hills and mountains, the black colour is from coal of burned bamboo leaves and white colour is made from sea shells.
The painting is them covered with a layer of sticky rice paste (called ‘ho nep’) to protect it, which results in an amazingly long lasting sturdy finish.
The most common themes for the paintings carry congratulatory meanings such as – ‘Honour-Prosperity’, ‘Spring Ritual’ or ‘Chicken Family’. Another subtheme centres on daily activities which include ‘Jealously’, ‘Playing flute’ or ‘Farmer and Water Buffalo’.
Those paintings with Chinese characters have clearer meanings. For example, a painting ‘Justice’ portrays a child carrying a frog, which means humanity and justice.
Artisan Ky Huu Phuoc said it is demanding work that requires many skilful techniques.
Here are some images of Sinh Tet festival paintings we thought you would enjoy: