27/05/2014 00:01 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Thanh Tien Paper Flowers

The village of Thanh Tien has been well-known for the craft of making paper flowers for over 300 years in the imperial capital of Hue. Like the characteristics of Hue people, Thanh Tien paper flowers have a simple, gentle and delicate beauty.
Thanh Tien Village is located near the peaceful and romantic Huong River in Phu Mau Commune, Phu Vang District, Thua Thien-Hue Province. The village is famous for making paper flowers which is named in the list of counting traditional Vietnamese handcrafts during the 16th -19th century in the Tran Family’s annals in Thanh Tien Village and the book entitled “Essays on the United Great Vietnam”, a Vietnamese geography book compiled under the reign of King Tu Duc (the 19th century) during the Nguyen Dynasty.

Thanh Tien paper flowers are used to decorate altars. The people in Hue pay much attention to the rite of worshipping their ancestors and for them flowers are one of the four most important and indispensable things in this rite, including incense, flowers, lamps and a bunch of bananas. However, the weather in Hue is rather harsh with much rainfall and sunlight that cause difficulties for growing flowers so the locals must use paper flowers to replace fresh flowers and it has gradually become their hobby. 

Thanh Tien paper lotus in an old house.

Colourful paper flowers  are used to decorate a Ruong house in Hue.

Lotus-shaped lanterns.

Hue people use paper lotus flowers to decorate altars.

Pink paper lotus are  used to decorate the buddhist alter.

Paper flowers show the lifestyle of Hue people.

A white paper lotus.

Paper lotus flowers.

A beautiful space is formed  by Thanh Tien lotus flowers and paintings.
Diverse colours of Thanh Tien paper lotus.

There were times the paper flower making craft was on the decline, however, with the great efforts by the villagers, the craft has been restored and developed. One of them is Nguyen Chi Phuoc, a native from Hue. Although Phuoc has lived far from his native land for over 50 years, he always desires to further develop the traditional craft. He has spent much time calling upon domestic and foreign organizations and private investors to invest in a project to preserve and develop the craft in Thanh Tien. As a result, Rose, a charity organization from Canada funded to build a centre for displaying and introducing Thanh Tien paper flowers in the precinct of the village’s communal house.

Thanh Tien has now many skillful artisans, namely Than Van Hue, Than Dinh Hoai and Nguyen Hoa who are good at making beautiful paper lotus flowers which are available in the North and the South and are used for decoration and display at most important cultural events, particularly Hue Festival, a special cultural event of state-level which is held twice every two years in Hue.

During Hue Festival 2014, Thanh Tien villagers organized their festival, called “Colours of Thanh Tien” which brought Hue a special beauty. Among the green grass and fields and the colour of mossy ancient communal houses, pagodas and Ruong houses in a peaceful countryside, the areas for displaying Thanh Tien paper flowers look striking, fascinating any visitors.

Despite difficulties, with their love and creativeness, the locals in Thanh Tien preserve and develop their traditional craft – a beautiful feature of Hue that is rarely seen in other places.
Story: Thanh Hoa - Photo: Tran Thanh Giang