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Art Terms

Dong Ho folk woodcut painting

The Auspicious for People

This printmaking tradition emerged from Dong Ho village in northern Vietnam, producing multicolored woodcuts, and has its origins in the 17th century. It started as a folk art celebrating the Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Tet) at the end of the harvest, and today craftsmen make a living from printmaking year round. Commonly, Zo paper, handmade from tree bark, is used. First a base is applied and color prints made by addition of different woodcut blocks for each color and black border line. The labor of each stage in the process, from sketching and carving to printing, is divided among the craftsmen, with the woodblocks and drawings handed down to each house. Traditionally, subjects associated with good fortune for the new year were used, such as Buddha and scenes from country life, but since the end of the First Indochina War (1946–54) and forming of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, political propaganda images of Ho Chi Minh or scenes of soldiers became widespread.

Artist Unknown (Dong Ho Print) "Modernization (Man, Woman, and Bicycle)" production year unknown/printed in 2010 woodcut on paper

Nguyen Dang San "Carrying Fallen US Air Fighter" production year unknown/printed in 2010 woodcut on paper

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