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To Infinity and Beyond. "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Handicrafts by handicaps.

VIETNAM | Tuesday, 1 December 2009 | Views [6532] | Comments [2]

On the way to the Cu Chi Tunnels, our bus stopped by a lacquer painting shop. The paintings and other handicrafts were assembled by handicapped people, mostly war victims who were no longer eligible to work in offices or farms but who still wanted to earn a living.

It was comforting to know that there were enterprises that help and employ disabled Vietnamese people rather than just leave them to beg out on the streets for lack of options. By maximizing the tourism and arts industries, handicaps were given the opportunity to learn the fine art of lacquer painting and make use of their creative skills even if they've lost some parts of their bodies. It must be difficult for them not being able find a normal job in their society like work on farms or an office job maybe; I could not even imagine how that would feel. But at least initiatives such as these say that it's not the yet end of the road for them.

Lacquer painting, as I found out, is a famous and ancient art of Vietnam wherein they use a resinous substance from trees as a varnish or glossy coating on the painting. Materials used to construct the paintings vary, but the artists in the shop that we visited used egg shells.

Each piece undergoes a long process of creation: from wood preparation, drawing, varnishing, polishing, inlaying of mother of pearls, to further polishing, coating, etc. Finished paintings then have that brilliant luster and effect of showing rainbow colors. Here, the finished product is superbly done out of team effort.

At the gallery where all the finished products were displayed, one can't help but be amazed at the quality of the pieces. I was itching to get myself a souvenir, particularly a rectangular plate-like painting with colorful abstract designs, but the price was beyond my budget (and it was too early on in the leg of my trip to carry it around).

I returned home partly regretting not buying it, but was also relieved somehow that I let go of the opportunity since I learned from my cousin who's been to Saigon as well that the items sold there were a bit more expensive than the ones sold at the markets in the city.

I've not given up entirely on hanging one of those shiny pieces on the wall of my study. I think after my return trip to Vietnam this month I won't return home again empty-handed.

Tags: ho chi minh, lacquer painting, people, vietnam




Purchased an item, and when looking got home last wish list had gone for the set do you know if left can order on line

  R Williams Jan 8, 2015 12:47 PM


I would like to order a plate made with woman with shells

  Ekelln Mar 14, 2017 10:40 AM



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