For 40 years, a Hanoi family has been making funny faces

Update: 15:19 | 13/09/2018

One Hanoi family has weathered the ups and downs of their traditional vocation to keep making paper masks. One of the most important accouterments of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam is the paper mask that children love to wear on the day.

40 years, Hanoi family, funny faces, traditional vocation, paper masks, most important accouterments,  Mid-Autumn Festival

In Hanoi’s Old Quarter, there is only one family that has persisted with making the paper masks.

Over the last few decades, however, the colorful, gaudy masks, which are handmade with different layers of paper, moulded and painted, have been sidelined by plastic ones that are cheaper and easier to get.

With plastic and rubber marks coming to dominate the market, the handmade paper ones lost out and many families that used to make them either gave up their vocation or curtailed it significantly.

40 years, Hanoi family, funny faces, traditional vocation, paper masks, most important accouterments,  Mid-Autumn Festival

All it takes to make a mask are some pieces of paper, cassava powder and glue, and paint.

In Hanoi’s Old Quarter, there is only one family that has persisted with making the paper masks. The family of Nguyen Van Hoa, 64, and Dang Huong Lan, 60, still maintains this craft in a 20 square meter space in the attic of their house.

All it takes to make a mask are some pieces of paper, cassava powder and glue, and paint, but production is a time-consuming process. The artisans first tear the paper into many pieces, then glue different layers of paper with glue and cassava powder and press them into molds. There are 22 molds for different characters in Hoa’s house.

40 years, Hanoi family, funny faces, traditional vocation, paper masks, most important accouterments,  Mid-Autumn Festival

From the mold emerge the shapes of faces that will become lively.

From the mold emerge the shapes of faces that will become lively, characters usually found in children’s stories and traditional fairy tales. The masks are dried in the sun, then painted.

Hoa said painting the mask was not a very complex task, but it demands meticulousness so that nothing stains it.

40 years, Hanoi family, funny faces, traditional vocation, paper masks, most important accouterments,  Mid-Autumn Festival

It demands meticulousness so that nothing stains it.

The masks need to be really dry before being painted, or else it is difficult to draw correctly and there will be color smudges on the pieces, said Hoa.

The painted masks will be sun-dried once again before completion.

40 years, Hanoi family, funny faces, traditional vocation, paper masks, most important accouterments,  Mid-Autumn Festival

The painted masks will be sun-dried once again before completion.

"There was a period when Chinese toys dominated the market. We could not sell our own products well then, so many families gave up their vocation,” said Huong Lan.

Every mid-autumn festival, Hoa and Lan’s family produces over 2,000 masks for VND30,000 - 45,000 ($1.28-1.93) each.

40 years, Hanoi family, funny faces, traditional vocation, paper masks, most important accouterments,  Mid-Autumn Festival

Many retailers have visited Hoa’s family to order the masks.

In the last three years, things have changed for the better, as people worried about toxins in imported products are shifting back to the paper masks. Many retailers have visited Hoa’s family to order the masks.

In Vietnam, the Mid-Autumn Festival is an important lunar celebration, which takes place on the 15th day of Lunar August. On that night, people watch the full moon, enjoy traditional delicacies and listen to music, watch lion dances and enjoy other recreational activities.

40 years, Hanoi family, funny faces, traditional vocation, paper masks, most important accouterments,  Mid-Autumn Festival

Every mid-autumn festival, Hoa and Lan’s family produces over 2,000 masks.

The festival is meant for children in particular, so they have fun, playing with star-shaped lanterns, wearing masks and making a lot of noise, apart from enjoying the traditional mooncakes, which are sweet.

This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 24 in the Gregorian calendar.

 

Discovering Mid-Autumn traditional toys at Museum of Ethnology
Visitors, especially children, in Hanoi will have an opportunity to discover the traditional toys of the mid-autumn festival through the “Discovering Mid-Autumn toys” programme held at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology at 9 am, on September 15.
 
Lion dance teams to celebrate mid-Autumn festival
Teams from China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam will compete in the International Kylin and Lion Dance competition at Da Nang’s Helio entertainment centre on September 14-16.
 
Assorted activities scheduled at Con Son – Kiep Bac Autumn Festival
The annual Con Son – Kiep Bac Autumn Festival will take place from September 19 to 29 in the northern province of Hai Duong with assorted activities to honour the Tran dynasty’s (1225 -1400) contributions to the national defence.
 

Source: VnExpress

 
Bình luận mới vừa được thêm vào. Click để xem
Mới nhấtHay nhấtXếp theo: