Dong Ho paintings – A traditional art genre of Vietnamese


When you wonder about Vietnamese art, you would have Dong Ho Painting in thought. Dong Ho Painting is the most famous kind of folk painting in Vietnam that have been originated in Dong Ho village, Thuan Thanh district, Bac Ninh province, northern Vietnamese about over 300 years of history. Dong Ho paintings vividly portrait the speciality in Vietnamese traditions or the simplicity of Vietnamese people, and the anxieties for a peaceful and prosperous living.

Dong Ho pictures are specially printed on ‘Dzo’ paper made of bark of a tree called Dzo. More skilfully, artists use many various types of tree leaves to refine the colours. This is really an interesting and clever method utilized by previous traditional artists since lone time ago to create the best way for panting and expressing the idea for Dong Ho folk paintings. Here are some instances for the using of this method: burnt bamboo leaves for black paint, cajuput leaves for green, copper rust for blue, pine resin for amber, crushed egg shells mixed with paste for white and so much more. Moreover, in order to protect the painting and the colours and to avoid them being dimmer after the following years of display, artists usually cover the painting by a layer of sticky rice. Those methods and elements to make Dong Ho paintings are basically close and familiar to us everyday but not everyone could think of them to create a real artistic and meaningful like Dong Ho paintings.

making dong ho painting
Making the Dong Ho paintings

Hundreds of beautiful and famous Dong Ho paintings have been produced such as ‘Picking Coconuts’, the humorous ‘Teacher’ that represents the old educational practice, the ‘wedding Mouse’ or ‘Jealousy scene’ satirizing the polygamous system once upon a time, and so on. Although the details and ideas Dong Ho paintings feature are different but the representation of expecting flourish and prosperity is similar and hilariously shown.

In the past, people, especially in the countryside, used to buy Dong Ho pictures for decoration during Tet, Vietnamese traditional Lunar New Year. They believed that the pictures would bring them good luck and property. Whenever you go and you see Dong Ho pictures, you’d think of Vietnam and people’s creativity there.

picking coconuts
Picking Coconuts

wedding mouse
Wedding Mouse


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