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French artist depicts Tet Doan Ngo in works exhibited in Hanoi

Sunday, May 26, 2019, 18:47 GMT+7
French artist depicts Tet Doan Ngo in works exhibited in Hanoi
The ‘Tet Doan Ngo – Past and Present’ exhibition showcases many traditions of Vietnamese that are now rarely seen. Photo: Tuoi Tre

An exhibition to celebrate Tet Doan Ngo opened this week in Hanoi, showcasing a late French artist’s fascinating works.    

The “Tet Doan Ngo – Past and Present” display takes place at The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long from May 24 to June 30.

Tet Doan Ngo is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month in the lunar calendar.

The event marks the ‘middle day of summer’ or summer solstice, and is also the death anniversary of the national mother of Vietnam, Au Co, according to the official website of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

Tet Doan Ngo past and present exhibition showcases many traditions of Vietnamese that are now rarely seen. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The ‘Tet Doan Ngo – Past and Present’ exhibition showcases many traditions of Vietnamese that are now rarely seen. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Beside recreating traditional sights of the festival, the exhibition also displays artworks inspired by this fest, with the most notable one being that of Henri Oger.

Henri Oger, or Henry-Joseph Oger, who passed away in 1939, was a French volunteer who came to Vietnam as a soldier and was known by many thanks to his collection of paintings depicting northern Vietnamese’s lifestyle at the beginning of the 20th century.

The artist even had a workshop on Hang Gai Street in the old town of Hanoi to produce artwork describing Vietnamese tradition and culture, especially those of the northern population a century ago.

The exhibition showcases Oger’s Mechanics and Crafts of the People of Annam collection, featuring traditions practiced during Tet Doan Ngo.

Annam was the name the West used to refer to Vietnam as a whole when the country was still a French colony.

The collection consists of several colorfully painted images, all of which were given to Vietnamese people after completion because the artist believed that Vietnamese could well comment on and appreciate his artworks.

A piece of artwork introducing colorful fans is seen in the photo as it is displayed at Tet Doan Ngo past and present exhibition held in Hanoi from May 24 to June 30, 2019. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Colorful fans are arranged in a piece of artwork displayed at the ‘Tet Doan Ngo – Past and Present’ exhibition held in Hanoi from May 24 to June 30, 2019. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A store selling traditional eastern medicine is recreated at Tet Doan Ngo past and present exhibition held in Hanoi from May 24 to June 30, 2019. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A store selling oriental medicine is recreated at the ‘Tet Doan Ngo – Past and Present’ exhibition held in Hanoi from May 24 to June 30, 2019. Photo: Tuoi Tre

On view are also recreated streets of ancient Hanoi selling oriental herbal medicine, a collection of colorful fans, and paintings of Thang Long heritage sites, among others.

Thang Long was Hanoi’s name in the older days as the ancient capital of Vietnam.

Tet Doan Ngo is becoming unfamiliar to many young generations, so such exhibitions are important for Vietnamese to remain connected to their former traditions and ancestry.

The festival used to be referred to as one of the strangest celebrations of Vietnam, with many activities such as piercing ears for young girls, dying fingernails and toenails, and killing insects, among others.

Here are some of the paintings in Henri Oger’s collection Mechanics and Crafts of the People of Annam:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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