Silk paintings are made by embroidering on the canvas of silk with sophisticated themes and vibrant colors. Success of silk painting owes much to the quality of the silk because it is used directly as background. Its delicate and refined colors give the picture such harmony with the nature and excellent representation of Vietnamese landscapes and daily life.
The XQ Su Quan in Da Lat is very famous for silky embroidered paintings.
Vietnamese lacquer traditionally comes in only three colors – brown, black and vermilion. During 1930s, artists adopted a new technique called “chiseling” to produce richer color range and sense of distance.
The painting is made on wood. It is covered with a piece of cloth glued to it using the sap of the lacquer tree and then coated with a layer of the sap mixed with earth. The board is then sand papered and recoated with a layer of hot sap. After polishing, this gives a smooth black surface with a brilliant luster.
The painter uses hot lacquer to draw the outline of a picture and the colors are applied one by one, layer upon layer. Each coat dries slowly.
The finishing touches consist of polishing and washing the pictures. This process may seem like brutal treatment for a work of art, but it is done with great care. This process leaves a brilliant surface on a painting.