Vietnam lacquerware combines art and function

Makers are applying traditional techniques on a wider range of products. Recent releases feature abstract art or irregular structures.

October 13, 2017

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Makers are applying traditional techniques on a wider range of products. Recent releases feature abstract art or irregular structures.

Vietnam lacquerware

Vietnam’s selection of lacquerware comprises traditional and contemporary designs. (Left to right: ice bucket from Huong Nga Fine Arts Co. Ltd, mirror frame from Viet Pearl Lacquer, and plate from Kima Lacquer Art).

Vietnam suppliers are making the traditional craft of lacquer work more attractive to consumers by releasing products that are both functional and visually pleasing. While makers continue to offer purely decorative pieces, lacquerware selections have expanded to include products such as ice buckets, mirror frames, tissue boxes and cabinets.

Recent releases showcase abstract motifs and nonstandard or novelty structures. This is in contrast to traditional products, which typically depict floral and religious motifs, or local people and scenery.

Viet Pearl Lacquer in Hanoi province offers mirror frames with structures featuring overlapping ovals. Lamps and wine holders are also in its range of products.

The selection of Ho Chi Minh City-based Huong Nga Fine Arts includes circular and oblong-shaped cabinets, as well as asymmetrical pieces. The products come with handpainted abstract patterns, which can be customized.

Most makers employ local artisans to create the designs and patterns. To enhance their product development capability, some companies, including Hanoi-based An Huy Trading Service and Production, hire university graduates with a degree in fine arts.

Besides relying on the creativity of its in-house teams, makers keep up to date with market and product trends through online research and the information they obtain from clients.

Competitive advantages

One of the factors enabling the industry to create unique lacquerware pieces is the pool of artists and artisans found in Vietnam. Painters, carvers, weavers and other skilled workers whose techniques have been passed down from previous generations can be found across the country, with many residing within Vietnam’s numerous craft villages.

In the north, suppliers using traditional lacquer painting techniques can be found in the villages of Ha Thai and Son Dong in Hanoi province, Cat Dang in Nam Dinh, and Dinh Bang in Bac Ninh. In the south, Tuong Binh Hiep in Binh Duong province is the key manufacturing center for lacquerware.

The diversity of raw materials found in the country is also a key factor enabling makers to release innovative designs. The selection of lacquerware from Vietnam comprises products made of bamboo, rattan, clay and wood. For embellishments, makers often turn to seashells, eggshells and gold or silver leaves.

This article and its contents are provided by the Hinrich Foundation, a partner of Global Sources in promoting trade across Asia. The products and the suppliers featured in this article are export assistance program beneficiaries of the Hinrich Foundation.

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