Dong Ho painting village in Song Ho commune, Thuan Thanh district, Bac Ninh province, which is about 35km from Hanoi, is a famous for its folk paintings. Dong Ho village (sometimes villagers just call it Ho village) is located on the southern side of the Duong river, next to the Ho wharf, which is now Ho bridge.
Around the year, domestic and international tourists come to this traditional village to visit and buy paintings as souvenirs. Some hotels and restaurants from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City also come here to order big size paintings to decorate their living rooms or large dining rooms. The shortest way for you to go to Dong Ho painting village from Hanoi is to follow Highway NO.5 (road to Hai Phong city) to Phu Thuy station; then turn left when you are away about 15km from Hanoi; after that, continue to go for 18km crossing some famous places of Gia Lam district (Hanoi) such as Sui street, Keo market, Dau market (Thuan Thanh – Bac Ninh); finally, you arrive Ho street – Thuan Thanh district. When you get there, turn left for 2km to go to Ho village. You can also go to the end of Ho street, turn left on the dike, then see the signpost to this village at the second dike’s inn.
The daily work of the locals
Ho village used to known as Mai village. The old in this village still pass some lyrics on to posterity:
Hỡi cô thắt lưng bao xanh
Có về làng Mái với anh thì về
Làng Mái có lịch có lề
Có sông tắm mát có nghề làm tranh.
(Lady wearing such blue belt
Wanna come to Mai village together?
Where has calendar and morals
And river and panting making career)
Dong Ho village is next to the Duong river’s bank. In the past, it was only a dike separating the village and the river, which was inscribed in the sentence: “Có sông tắm mát có nghề làm tranh" (And river and panting making career). Nowadays, due to the sedimentation of the river, the distance from the dike to the water's edge is quite big.
What is the meaning of the sentence “làng Mái có lịch có lề" (Where has calendar and morals)? Vietnam proverb says: even torn paper must keep margin. The word “margin” here represents the ethical rules of the ancient people who were very honorable and mettle. Mai villagers, who are all artistic, consider sentences very important. Unlike many other villages, Ho villagers, especially women, speak elegantly. The villagers tell that even in the past, it was hardly to hear people yelling at each other.
The friendly and rustic people of the village
Due to technological development, Ho folk painting now do not consume as much as before. Over the centuries, 17 families who all make paintings gathered in the village. However, Ho villagers earn their money by making votive paper. Until now, only two families of Nguyen Dang Che artisan and Nguyen Huu Sam artisan and their family members are following painting making career and preserving Dong Ho painting heritage.
Each year, this traditional village has its own festival on the full moon of March in lunar calendar. The festival includes some traditional rituals such as sacrifice or painting contest which are very exciting. There are also the
village folk songs such as:
Hỡi anh đi đường cái quan
Dừng chân ngắm cảnh mà tan nỗi sầu
Mua tờ tranh điệp tươi màu
Mua đàn gà lợn thi nhau đẻ nhiều.
(The man who is walking
Stop here to sightseeing and release your sorrow
Buy a new colorful panting
Of chickens and pigs having more livestock)
More pictures of Dong Ho Village:
Dong Ho painting village's showroom
Glory And Wealth
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