Dong Ho village, formally called Mai village, is located in Song Ho commune, Thuan Thanh District, Bac Ninh province, in the southern bank of Duong River Dyke, 30 km to the East of Hanoi.
Dong Ho village map
Dong Ho village Vietnam is famous for its folk paintings (Tranh Đông Hồ in Vietnamese) or Vietnamese woodblock prints. Dong Ho painting is considered a fine reflection of traditional aesthetic value, social philosophies, and humanitarian desires. The traditional themes of Dong Ho painting are good luck signs, historical figures, folk allegories, popular stories, and social commentaries. Elements of everyday life are well integrated in Dong Ho paintings to express the thoughts and wishes of people.
According to the villagers, the making of Dong Ho painting was dated back to the 11th century during the reign of the Ly Dynasty, while researchers propose that craftsmen began to print pictures in Dong Ho village during the rule of Lê Kính Tông (1600–1619) of the Lê Dynasty. In the dynastic time, Dong Ho village is one of the few places which had the tradition of making folk paintings, along with Hang Trong, Kim Hoang, and Sinh village.
Originally, Dong Ho paintings were made only with black-and-white prints of woodcuts, but from the 15th century, different colours were introduced by craftsmen in the village. As a village specialized in making woodcuts and paintings, almost all Dong Ho villagers were involved in the manufacturing of paintings from carving the woodblocks, producing điệp papers, obtaining natural colours to creating new themes, and printing.
Some Dong Ho paintings became famous for their interesting themes like the picture Đám cưới chuột (Rat’s wedding) which features a wedding march of rats with the rat bride and groom and other rat guests delivering gifts to a big cat in hope that the cat will leave the happy “couple” alone.
With the consent of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with the Provincial People’s Committee of Bac Ninh and the specialized agencies conducting research, have set records for Dong Ho folk paintings to be submitted to UNESCO for the recognition of intangible cultural heritage.