Culture Culture

11/08/2017 - 15:39

Mirror paintings turned into unique souvenirs

With the passion and desire to restore the traditional mirror paintings of Hue, young artist Duong Van Kinh has explored the techniques of mirror painting and created unique decorative mirror paintings.

Visitors are choosing their favorite mirror paintings

“Mirror painting is in the second group (producing decorative materials) among 6 groups of craft villages. As I am working at the Culture and Information Office of Hue city, the permanent office of Hue Traditional Craft Festival Organizing Committee, I have learned about mirror paintings with the initial intention to look for some mirror painting products to be introduced in Hue Traditional Craft Festival. I went to many places but there were no mirror painting artisans in Hue. Actually, this traditional craft has gradually been declining. Thus, since 2013, I have cherished the idea to do something to restore this unique style of painting,” artist Duong Van Kinh said.

It was a long process from the idea to its realization since almost none of mirror painting artisans continued with the craft, and mirror painting techniques were lost also. “I went to find them in Kim Long, Bao Vinh ancient town, Gia Hoi,… but there were no artisans making mirror paintings. In the past, the materials used for mirror paintings had been color powder mixed with glue, the paint layer had been drawn or inlaid with nacre on the back of the mirror in the technique of negative drawing so that the positive image can be viewed from the front. Negative drawing or reverse drawing requires the end to be drawn first. This is a difficult technique that not everyone can do,” artist Duong Van Kinh added.

After two years of learning about mirror painting techniques, artist Duong Van Kinh has been now able to create decorative mirror paintings with the themes of landscapes, folk paintings of Sinh village, Dong Ho paintings and Hue lotus. They are aimed to promote tourism and create a new kind of souvenir for visitors to Hue.The main difference in Duong Van Kinh’s mirror paintings is the usage of French specialized colors for mirror paintings, this kind of colors allows the two sides of the painting to be seen almost as the same, not just one side as the previous mirror paintings.

At the International Trade Fair of Hue Festival 2016, the unique mirror paintings of artist Duong Van Kinh attracted many visitors and Hue citizens.

“In the near future, I will focus on the type of small sized decorative mirror paintings of Hue’s monuments and landscapes. Then, I intend to learn more about mirror painting techniques to create unique portrait mirror paintings. Hopefully, mirror paintings are welcome and become the interesting souvenirs for visitors to Hue. I also hope these products will be the starting point to arouse the interest in the traditional paintings of families who used to work in this craft before. Accordingly, Hue traditional mirror painting craft will be restored," artist Duong Van Kinh shared.

Story and photo: Ngoc Ha