Exploring the Dragon’s Legacy: A Collaboration of Art and History

The Hue Monuments Conservation Centre, in partnership with renowned artist People’s Artist Tran Do, presents a captivating exhibition, ‘Bieu Tuong Rong Qua Gom Tran Do’ (Dragon Symbols through Tran Do Ceramics). This special event, held as part of the Hue Festival Week 2024, offers a unique glimpse into the artistic interpretation of Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage.

The exhibition showcases Do’s extraordinary ceramic artwork, inspired by the dragon imagery found on seals of the Nguyen Dynasty. These ancient symbols, dating back to the 19th and early 20th centuries, serve as a powerful representation of Vietnam’s royal history and artistic excellence.

Do’s passion for ceramics and his diligent research come to life in the mesmerizing dragon shapes and patterns on display. Each piece is a testament to his dedication and talent, reflecting the artistic value and cultural significance of the dragon in Vietnamese culture.

According to Hoang Viet Trung, Director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre, the artist’s creative process involved extensive consultation with various museums and relic conservation units. This collaborative effort ensured an accurate and respectful portrayal of the royal culture and the iconic dragon symbol.

Trung further highlights the importance of Do’s research, stating that the artist delved into historical documents, artifacts, and antiques to build his own creative resources, thus bridging the past with the present through his unique artistic vision.

The exhibition also shines a spotlight on Tran Do, a master craftsman, and his contributions to Vietnamese pottery. Known as the ‘king of ceramic glaze’, Do infuses his creations with unique features, capturing the quintessence of the nation’s culture. His talented team of artisans from Bat Trang Pottery Village, located on the outskirts of Hanoi, played a crucial role in bringing this dragon collection to life.

Do shares a special connection with Hue and its cultural heritage, and this exhibition serves as a gift to the city. The dragon, a symbol of power and wisdom, takes center stage in his collection, with each piece meticulously crafted to reflect the aspirations of happiness and virtue. The dragon shapes rise upwards, embodying the noble spirit of the ancient city of Hue and the nation as a whole.

The dragon, leading the quartet of sacred animals in Vietnamese mythology, holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the people. It represents unparalleled magic, humanity, nobility, strength, courage, and above all, wisdom. In royal imagery, the dragon symbolizes absolute authority, making it an integral part of Hue’s artistic and cultural legacy.

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