Beautiful Vietnam
Vietnamese Tet paintings
  • | Nhan Dan | February 12, 2010 05:18 PM

Tet painting features activity of rural people.

In the past, when the lunar New Year (Tet) approached, Tet folk paintings were seen everywhere, from the rural markets to urban streets. These wood block paintings were traditionally used to decorate homes for the New Year festival.

The Tet pictures seem simple in the way of making it, but varied in content. Artisans put colour on the wood block, and then apply the wood block on paper to make the paintings. There are paintings on animals, daily activities, Tet wishing, and decorative paintings.

The Tet painting depicts happiness, longevity and prosperity.

There is a variety of paintings on daily activities of rural people in the past, such as catching coconut, making a scene of jealousy, choosing a husband, or working on the field. Other types of paintings describe students studying, carpenters sawing woods, boat rowing, etc. There are also various pictures that depict Tet atmosphere, such as enjoying Tet festival, going out in spring, or dragon and phoenix dances and singing.

Paintings on Tet wishing depict people’s aspiration during Tet time, such as happiness, longevity and prosperity. The pictures can be about a mandarin holding two wooden boards with wordings such as Prosperity God and Happiness God, or Longevity God with white hair, long beard and holding a peach with the words “Thousand Year Peach Fruit”.

Other paintings may not include words, but are highly symbolic, such as a boy holding a lotus, representing purity and eternity, or a child holding a peach, representing longevity.

As Tet comes near, every household redecorates their houses, and many buy Tet paintings for decoration. Paintings, such as the set of four season paintings, represented by the typical flowers of the four seasons or paintings about the fisherman, carpenter, farmer and herder.

Hanging Tet paintings has become a fine tradition that has been kept for generations. It has been seen as special product that adds Tet flavor to the holiday atmosphere.

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