Developing further than paper painting, silk painting of Vietnam has escaped from the label of merely a traditional Vietnamese art to become a symbol of contemporary arts. Vietnam silk painting is outstanding for its softness, elegance, romance and especially its flexibility of style.
Like other kinds of painting, the process of selecting materials, is the key to the creation of aesthetic pictures. As silks of Vietnam is not as smooth as of others countries such as China and Japan, Vietnamese style silk painting is quite different in terms of painting process. Our artists have to spread silks on a wood frame and paint on silks or dye silks to be exact.
In Vietnam, the silk canvas is often used directly as the painting background while artists in other countries are inclined to create a thin layer of rice paste on silks before painting so that they do not have to wash and dye silks again and again as Vietnamese artists do. Unlike Chinese silk painting, silk painting of Vietnam in general and oil painting as well as lacquer painting in particular have layout that could be seen from the bottom. This feature partly expresses the ultimate desire of Vietnamese, the aspiration to head towards the bright future.
Especially, strongly influenced by French arts, Vietnamese silk painting tends to reflect the real life with a gold layout ratio, rather than being just a work of estimation like its Japanese and Chinese counterparts. Besides, the flexible combination of colors also adds more value to Vietnamese silk painting. Generally, colors in those pictures are bright and vivid, but sometimes are stylized to put more emphasis on themes conveyed through paintings.
Delicate strokes with lively block colors mingled together spreading through each smooth silk fibres themselves add more vibration and vitality to the whole picture. Through Vietnamese silk paintings, you would certainly experience the beauty of Vietnamese rustic countryside, little villages, peaceful landscapes, historical events and more importantly, the breath of daily life. Although the golden age of silk painting in Vietnam (1925-1945) passed, its potentials in years to come are expected by generations of silk painters and art lovers.