It was a boiling day in Hoi An when I was exploring the tourist attractions in the charming ancient town. After visiting a couple of them, I just wanted to get into an air-conditioning enclosure to escape the scorching heat. Even my shades and sun hat had not been able to help to soothe the effect of the red hot day.
Luckily, I came across Le Loi Fashion, a store that seemed like an art gallery. It was a sigh of relief as soon as I entered the air-conditioned hall. My sweat started being getting dried up as I looked at some artful paintings hanging on the walls all around the gallery.
When the paintings caught me by surprise
“Wow! That’s a beautiful painting!” I murmured to myself. It was a painting depicting an old lady’s face. The way details like fine lines of aging were taken care of was outstanding. My eyes then moved towards another artwork showing two women wearing traditional Vietnamese dresses and straw hats. That was again a marvelous piece of art.
“Fabulous! That is just wonderful!”, Suddenly, a scream escaped from my mouth. I had moved towards the paintings to have a closer look, and I could not believe what I had seen. All those paintings were embroidered.
I immediately went up to a female staff member. Her name badge read HangMoon. “HangMoon, are all these pictures here embroidered?”
“Yes, all these pictures are hand-embroidered using silk threads”.
“Fantastic! They all look like oil paintings”.
“Thank you for the compliment, mam. Would you like to have a look at how these paintings get weaved?”
“Of course. I would love to”.
Art requires patience
I excitedly walked towards the weaving section. About 7-8 girls were sitting therein rows opposite to each other. I observed one of the girls for a few minutes, who was weaving a sunset view, for a few minutes. I was astounded watching her doing such intricate work so steadily. The way she was using different shades of red, orange and yellow color to give the shaded effect (just like in the original painting that they refer while weaving), it nearly looked like paint strokes.
I noticed that all the girls engaged in weaving were very young, probably because of the nature of the work, they have to be able to see well.
“This requires a hell lot of patience,” I mumbled to myself again.
I managed to capture what I thought was a masterpiece – A boy taking a bath under a tap. The shades of the skin of the boy and the spilled water were mind-blowing. I am sure it would not have taken less than a month to create that gem.
Hoi An Takeaways
Having over 1,000 years of Chinese presence in Vietnam, needlework is a vibrant part of artistic traditions in Vietnam. Notably, Vietnamese culture was heavily influenced by Chinese culture in terms of politics, government, social and moral ethics, and art.
Those exceptionally finely silk-embroidered pictures left me enchanted. Make sure that Le Loi Fashion is a part of your travel guide when you visit Hoi An. The paintings would undoubtedly make for a remarkable souvenir to take back home.
Written by: Anukrati Dosi
Anukrati is a travel and hotel blogger and the author of the blog www.bulbulonthewing.com. A total hodophile, she spends her free time seeing as much of the world as she can. She has travelled to 10 countries so far. Being an avid reader and researcher, she also designs customized travel itineraries professionally.