Main inspiration from Hang Trong folk painting and close consultation with Le Dinh Nghien – the last experienced artisan of this genre with its main inspiration from Hang Trong folk painting, L’Hôtel du LAC Hanoi at 35-37 Hang Trong Street is a harmonious blend of folk beauty and modern architecture.

The charming yet elegant space of the hotel with a Hang Trong folk painting of Carp Looking at the Moon on the ceiling of the restaurant. Photo courtesy of L’Hôtel du LAC

Visitors will find a unique cultural space that appears no less captivating than a museum of national culture.

An inspiration that came from folk art

Hang Trong painting is a genre of traditional woodcut painting of Northern Vietnam. In addition to such genres as the famous Dong Ho or the rustic, medieval Kim Hoang, Hang Trong paintings were seen as a cultural feature of the upper class and mandarins in the prosperous capital of Hue because of their sophisticated sizes and techniques.

Born in the 17th century, this genre is associated with the area of Hang Trong and Hang Non streets in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.

The golden age of Hang Trong painting was probably the late 19th century and the early 20th century, featuring various themes closely related to the daily life of Vietnamese people, such as wishes, congratulation, entertainment, teachings, religious beliefs, or history.

The works entitled Ly Ngu Vong Nguyet or Carp Looking at the Moon, Tung Cuc Truc Mai or Pine, Daisy, Bamboo and Apricot, Cho Que or Rural Market and worship paintings such as Ngu Ho or Five Tigers and Mau Thuong Ngan or Princess of the Forest are all considered as masterpieces.

They exude impressive depth, subtlety, and vividness in terms of both form and content, typical of Vietnamese folk visual arts.

The Tiger- an artwork themed Hang Trong folk painting by renowned Hanoi folk artist Le Dinh Nghien.

In the past, paintings from Hang Trong and Dong Ho were called Tet paintings, as they were must-have decorations in each Hanoian house during Tet. To satisfy the peak-season demand, artisans in Hang Trong often started to do these paintings in the eleventh and twelfth lunar months, with folk themes like Bit Mat Bat De or Blind Man’s Buff, Rong Ran or Following the Leader and Thay Do Coc or the Toad Scholar.

Due to several intrinsic and extrinsic factors, Vietnamese folk painting, in general, and Hang Trong painting, in particular, are gradually brought to the verge of extinction. As a result, preserving and promoting traditional values – especially the genre of folk painting – has been given top priority and attention by the People’s Committee of Hoan Kiem District as well as that of Hang Trong Ward.

The artisans with skillful hands still struggle to hold on to the craft handed down by their forefathers. At the same time, tourist and accommodation establishments in Hang Trong Ward and Hoan Kiem District are also making great efforts to introduce this genre of painting to domestic and foreign tourists.

A touch of heritage in modern life

Located at 35-37 Hang Trong Street in Hang Trong Ward of Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, L’Hôtel du LAC Hanoi is primarily inspired by the vibrant colors and enduring cultural significance of Hang Trong paintings. This one-of-a-kind hotel was constructed in close consultation with the last veteran craftsman of this genre – Le Dinh Nghien.

The vivid space of the hotels with Hang Trong folk paintings.

Bringing the once-famous beauty back to where it was born and belonged, every corner of the hotel was designed as an art exhibition, with the centerpiece being the Hang Trong painting collection built by artisan Le Dinh Nghien. The genre’s characteristic lines, patterns, and colors are also presented creatively and delicately – through both architectural space and interior decoration.

Renowned paintings are arranged throughout the areas of the hotel, including the check-in lobby, bar, elevator, cafeteria, sky bar, and health spa. One of the most loved paintings is Ca Chep Vuot Vu Mon, or Carp Crossing the Dragon Gate, which symbolizes the desire to rise to the top and the will to persevere.

Legend has it that the carp refused to accept the fate of ordinary fish, swam upstream against the river’s strong current, and successfully leaped over the waterfall, transforming itself into a powerful dragon – the king of all aquatic animals.

The newly built hotel in Hanoi may help entertain international visitors to the thousand-year-old capital of Vietnam.

This painting introduces a new approach to upholding traditional values and represents the leadership team’s faith, which consists of young, enthusiastic people striving to revive the precious genre and spread it widely – especially among tourists visiting the thousand-year-old capital.

Vu Quang Anh, the Chairman of the Board of Vu Le Trade and Tourism Service Joint Stock Company – the governing body of L’Hôtel du LAC told The Hanoi Times: “Coming to live and work in Hang Trong Street – an area with long-lasting cultural values, I was fortunate to experience and get business inspiration from this genre of paintings.

Perhaps there is no better place to bring L’Hôtel du LAC to international tourists than Hang Trong Street.

We always believe and hope that Hang Trong painting will never disappear but always be maintained and developed so that the unique spirit of the millennial capital and an ancient treasure of the nation will be preserved.”