Beautiful Vietnam
Soulkeeper for paper masks in capital city
  • | | September 25, 2010 06:09 PM

A man living on Hang Than Street, Hanoi, is dedicated to making paper masks in an effort to preserve this traditional handicraft industry.

Mr. Hoa has produced thousands of masks since he started the job in the early 1980s when paper masks were a favorite toy for children, particularly on the occasion of Mid-Autumn Festival.

The masks are made based on the descriptive faces of animals or children’s favourite films and story characters such as Ong Tien Sy (Doctor), Thi No (a main character in the story Chi Pheo) or lovely faces of pigs. Simple but sophisticated drawings on old paper pieces help viewers to recognise the characters easily.

Each mask has its distinguished features of wholly hand-made products which cannot be imitated by any machine. They carry the smell of paint and glue.

Only the front side of the masks are decorated with artistic details, while the back is still kept unchanged with lines of words on the foundation of old paper pieces.

Nowadays, children have more modern toys. Because of this,paper masks are no longer their favorite. However, Mr. Hoa and his wife have still devoted their time to making the handicraft products around the year as they want to preserve this cottage industry. Making masks brings them around VND30 million to VND40 million per year..

Mr. Hoa has now become the sole paper mask maker on Hang Than Street which was once the hub of the product in the 1980s.

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