Nguyen Phan Chanh And Vietnamese Silk Painting

22 Jan, 2016 | Travel Blog

From the ultimate guides of each destination, secret beauties, amazing things about food and culture to top suggested resorts and hotels, our travel blog is meant to help you travel Asia at ease and experience the best moments there without any hesitation.

Vietnamese silk painting was born in the 1930s and quickly gained a foothold in the background in Vietnamese arts. There are many silk painting artists but the first one to be mentioned is the artist Nguyen Phan Chanh.

Nguyen Phan Chanh

Nguyen Phan Chanh

Be seen as laying the foundation for modern silk painting in Vietnam, Nguyen Phan Chanh has made a major contribution to Vietnamese modern paintings in the early twentieth century. Mentioning Vietnamese silk paintings, we refer to Nguyen Phan Chanh because he was the one who searched and explored the techniques of modern silk paintings. Although Vietnamese silk paintings had appeared in Vietnam since the Le dynasty  with two works of Nguyen Trai and Phung Khac Khoan portraits, it was well known by the success of Nguyen Phan Chanh. Nguyen Phan Chanh was born in 1892 in Ha Tinh. In 1922, he graduated from the College of Pedagogy of Quoc hoc Hue. In 1925, he continued his studies at the Indochina Fine Arts College. In 1928 he started painting with his first oil works “Me bay cho con dan len” (The mother teaches the kid to knit. In the same year, he began to study Yunnan silk paintings. In 1931, his famous works “Choi o an quan” (Mandarin square) was born, followed by works such as “Co gai rua rau” (The girl washing vegetables) and “Em be cho chim an” (The baby feeds birds).

Choi o an quan-Nguyen Phan Chanh

Choi o an quan

In spite of being trained entirely in the Western style, Nguyen Phan Chanh loved national traditions and was interested in calligraphy art. He soon revealed his  love for silk paintings. His paintings are clever combinations of the iconic style of Western and the thought style of Eastern. See his paintings, people feel that they are soothing, uplifting, warm bass, and extremely elegant. The genius of the artist is also reflected in the space that really makes the viewers feel "lost" in the works. In life as his rt, he composed over 170 works, of which there are many famous works such as “Nguoi ban gao” ( rice seller), “Trang lu” (Moon) and “Tien Dung and Chu Dong Tu”.

nguoi ban gao-Nguyen Phan Chanh

Nguoi ban gao

The most well known is probably “Choi o an quan” (Mandarin square) . On the smooth silk, the artist portrayed four children playing the folk game. They were shown a very fine way. Look at the picture, it felt like being back in the past.

Co hang xen-Nguyen Phan Chanh-silk paiting

A Vietnamese silk painting

Silk painting is a painting that has appeared in Asian countries like China and Japan for a long time.  Modern Vietnam silk paintings happened from 1930. A special difference between the ancient silk paintings and the modern ones in term of techniques is that the ancient silk paintings are painted directly on dry silk strips while Vietnam silk paintings stretch silk strips on wooden frames. The artists can  wash these strips  many times and paint. The colors used are watercolors. After painting is complete, a layer of paper is often added. Wait until colors are drain, the painting is  included in a glass frame, both to preserve and enhance the aesthetic for the painting.

Share on


Countless travel tips, Asian worth-seeing destinations unveiling are coming to your mailbox every week!

Related post

The Vietnamese Sandwich In-depth: Top 10 Banh Mi Types

The Vietnamese Sandwich In-depth: Top 10 Banh Mi Types

| 02 May, 2024

Explore the diversity of Vietnam’s Banh Mi types beyond the dictionary, from sizzling Banh Mi Chao to sweet and salty ......

7 Unique Cambodia Experiences You’ve Never Heard Of

7 Unique Cambodia Experiences You’ve Never Heard Of

| 10 Apr, 2024

Discover unique things to do in Cambodia in our travel guide, including jungle tent camping, bamboo trains, ......

What to See in Champasak - the Gem of Southern Laos

What to See in Champasak - the Gem of Southern Laos

| 09 Apr, 2024

Find out what to see in Champasak, the southern province of Laos that features countless unforgettable attractions such ......