To-Nu-Painting
Folk Art and Crafts,  Local Guide

A Precious Piece of Hanoi Vietnam History Embodied in Hang Trong Paintings

In Hanoi Vietnam history, Hang Trong painting plays a crucial role in Vietnamese folk culture. It is a precious piece of memory etched on the minds of generations of Hanoi citizens and those inhabiting the surrounding areas.

Hang Trong painting – A unique traditional folk art

Hang Trong painting is one of the three typical folk painting genres in Vietnam together with Dong Ho and Kim Hoang. Its name was named after Hang Trong Street in Hanoi City, where this exclusive art form was created. And it makes a significant contribution to the uniqueness, diversity, and brilliance of Vietnamese folk painting.

The-Hang-Trong-painting

The Hang Trong painting (Source: Google)

If Dong Ho and Kim Hoang paintings are prints issued from many woodblocks, a Hang Trong painting requires more effort than that. Only half of it is printed and the rest must be drawn by an artist. The printed part is solely used as a framework for the painting. The artist has to finish it by coloring its details.

Therefore, we can have multiple versions of one original print, each of which reflects the emotions of the painter. Perhaps, this is the feature that adds the personal touch to Hang Trong paintings in Hanoi Vietnam history. No matter how many times a print is re-drawn, its variants still have an obvious distinction. Furthermore, they reveal the wonderful talent and creativity of the artists.

Not only do Hang Trong paintings show an elegant layout but also unique chiaroscuro and deep significance. They display all of the meaningful traits of Hanoi culture in the old times.

Properties that make Hang Trong Painting so special

  • Themes and categories

Hang Trong paintings are divided into a large number of categories, including worship, daily activities, nature, stories, and Tet (Vietnamese New Year). The worship is the most famous one with paintings used in religious rituals. You can find many of its themes, such as the Mother Goddesses, tigers, or altars.

The category of Tet is also extremely fascinating with most of them disclosing the citizens’ wishes at the beginning of the year. Some others depict common images of spring such as flowers, birds, and the weather. It is easy to see that the details in Hang Trong paintings are considerably affected by the nobles and literates in ancient times.

The-Five-Tigers-Painting

The Five Tigers Painting (Source: Google)

  • Paper

The paper used for Hang Trong paintings may not be so extraordinary compared to that used for Dong Ho and Kim Hoang paintings. Nevertheless, an artist is still required to have high professionality to manage it. Large-sized Poonah-paper is put into practice to create a Hang Trong painting.

But due to its slenderness, the ink can penetrate into it and tear it apart without any difficulties. Thus, before starting drawing, the painter has to add some more layers to make the paper more durable. This explains why a Hang Trong painting can take up to 3 to 4 days to accomplish.

  • Glyphs on woodblocks

Sophisticated glyphs on woodblocks are primary elements for a spectacular Hang Trong painting in Hanoi Vietnam history. In order to have the intricate, small, and tender lines carved, artists often utilize woodblocks made from heavy and massive timber.

A-woodblock

A woodblock (Source: Google)

You can feel the delicateness of the glyphs when observing a Hang Trong painting. It is revealed in particular aspects, such as the willow-leaf-shaped eyebrows, tapered fingers, or the little creases on the clothes of a young lady. The glyphs on woodblocks are genuinely what makes Hang Trong paintings so exceptional.

  • Colors

The tones on Hang Trong paintings look relatively resplendent and varied. They carry strong personal impressions of the painters and do not follow any color ratios or standards. The most crucial thing is how much people enjoy the entire picture.

The main color of Hang Trong paintings is usually turquoise and pink in combined with green, red, orange, and yellow. There are even matte gold and copper tone on worship paintings. When drawing a Hang Trong picture, the artist has to carefully choose the tone and be exceptionally skillful.

Prominent paintings

To-Nu-Painting

To Nu Painting (Source: Google)

There are several excellent Hang Trong paintings that have been popular for decades in Hanoi Vietnam history. The first one is “To Nu,” which honors the beauty of music. It shows four charming women. Three of them play musical instruments, including a Vietnamese two-chord guitar, a flute, and castanets. And the last one does a fan dance.

Ca-Chep-Trong-Trang-Painting

Ca Chep Trong Trang Painting (Source: Google)

Another one is the “Ca Chep Trong Trang” (carp contemplating the Moon). “Ca Chep” in English means a carp and “Trang” is the Moon. In Vietnamese folk culture, a carp represents students’ strong will to overcome examinations and people’s determination to defeat challenges in life. The Moon is the symbol of perfection and accomplishment.

Vo-Chong-Ngau-Painting

Vo Chong Ngau Painting (Source: Google)

“Vo Chong Ngau” describes precisely the love of the Weaver Girl and the Cowherd. They can only meet one time a year on the bridge made by ravens.

Khanh Huyen

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