Sinh village – also known with the name Lai An, is a small village of Phu Mau commune, Phu Vang district. The village’s inhabitants mainly live on agriculture, but thanks to its convenient location in the vicinity of the ancient capital, many villagers also earn their living by trading and traditional crafts. One of the most well-known crafts is religious folk painting production.
The materials for Sinh’s paintings are newsprint-like paper and pigments with basic colors such as red, yellow, blue, green, purple and pink which are easily found in the market. The woodblocks for printing are made of jack wood. In making a painting, craftsmen cover the woodblock with a layer of black paste then apply a piece of paper on it and give an even rub on the back of the paper to have the line-carved board left regular prints on the paper. The printed copy is later embellished with color drawings.
Artisan Nguyen Huu Phuoc said “The most difficult step is to create colors. Sinh village paintings are characterized by 5 colors which should be painted separately. When one color is dried, it’s time to add another color. The other 2 steps are to trim paper and print painting. So after a total of 7 steps are taken, the painting is finished.”
Sinh village paintings are divided into 3 topics: characters, objects, and animals. Characters can be dummies and protectors of owners. This type of paintings are hung on the wall and burnt when the year ends. The rest are burnt together with votive papers after a praying ritual. Objects can be clothes as offerings to Gods and bow and arrows.
Animals are those of the 12 zodiac representing the ages of the owners and buffaloes, cows, pigs, and horses which are believed to protect the raised cattle from illness. Paintings of tigers and elephants are worshipped in the shrines to pray for protection of human being.
Despite its ups and downs, the painting village is still preserved and developed in Hue with more diverse themes, such as nature, houses, streets and daily activities, making a contribution to reflecting the spiritual life, cultural value and aspiration for a happy, well-off and peaceful life.