Weaver Devotes Life to Immortalizing Uncle Ho Through Artisan Pictures

A Hanoi craftsman has paid tribute to famed Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh through his creations.


Nguyen Van Trung, a seasoned craftsman born in 1955 in Chuong My District, Hanoi, has dedicated his life to the intricate art of rattan and bamboo weaving. Showcasing a profound admiration for President Ho Chi Minh, Trung’s meticulously handcrafted products embody the essence of this revered leader.

There have been over 200 pieces of work created in honor of the late President Ho Chi Minh, serving as a tribute to the esteemed father figure of our nation.

Artisan Nguyen Van Trung proudly showcases his expert craftsmanship in rattan and bamboo weaving. Photograph: Trong Tung

Exquisite works of art

In the rural village of Phu Vinh, located in the district, resides artisan Nguyen Van Trung. His home is adorned with exquisite rattan and bamboo handicrafts, showcasing his exceptional skill and craftsmanship. Standout among these artworks are his intricate renditions of Uncle Ho, with one particularly remarkable piece being a meticulously hand-woven portrait standing at an impressive 1.5 meters in height and over 1 meter in width. Mr. Trung, an experienced weaver, proudly describes this portrait as one of his most labor-intensive and noteworthy creations dedicated to honoring the legacy of Uncle Ho.

Trung dedicated approximately two months to the completion of the portrait. Prior to that, he embarked on extensive travels across multiple provinces in search of appropriate and high-quality materials.

Trung has harbored a passion for creating intricate rattan or bamboo sculptures of Uncle Ho ever since he was a young man. This fervor has driven him to continuously perfect his craft through relentless learning and practice.

The master humbly acknowledges that he practices the art of knitting by intricately crafting portraits of relatives and friends, with a particular aspiration of depicting the iconic figure of Uncle Ho. Despite his dedication and determination, he acknowledges the ongoing challenge of capturing Uncle Ho’s essence in an authentic and lifelike manner.

Despite facing numerous challenges, Trung remained undeterred. Determined to hone his skills, he sought assistance from the esteemed faculty at the Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Arts, even going the extra mile with his relative driving him for miles to the institution. To further enhance his craft, he meticulously gathered a vast collection of Uncle Ho’s paintings as references before embarking on his own artistic creation.

According to craftsman Nguyen Van Trung, in order to create a truly lifelike portrait, particularly when the subject is President Ho Chi Minh, diligent study of his photographs, meticulous refinement of each wispy white rattan strand, and the application of upwards of 15-16 distinct weaving techniques are necessary components.

Passing on the passion to the next generation

A unique image of Uncle Ho woven with bamboo and rattan yarn by artisan Nguyen Van Trung. Photo: Trong Tung

In 1976, artisan Nguyen Van Trung accomplished his first masterpiece, a woven portrait of the esteemed Uncle Ho. Since then, he has dedicated himself to creating over 200 stunning paintings honoring the late President. His works primarily feature adoration portraits and depictions of Uncle Ho alongside notable figures like Uncle Ton, the late Vietnamese President Ton Duc Thang, as well as Uncle Ho with children. Each painting is a heartfelt tribute to the beloved father figure of our nation.

The woven handicrafts mentioned are commonly featured at various events aimed at promoting the trading villages’ handicrafts, trade promotion fairs, and museums that display the traditional handicraft villages, landscapes, and people of the capital.

Trung has made significant contributions to the promotion of Vietnamese handicrafts internationally. In 1980, he was honored with the “Creative Youth Award” in the Soviet Union. Subsequently, he joined the Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Arts as a lecturer specializing in bamboo and rattan weaving. Recognizing his expertise, the State Scientific Committee and the Ministry of Higher Education appointed him as an expert to assist with handicraft training in the Republic of Cuba for three years.

During his four-year tenure in the Caribbean country, Trung facilitated the training of 300 local workers for a weaving workshop. In 1987, before his departure, he graciously bestowed upon the Cuban people a remarkable rattan portrait commemorating the esteemed late leader, Fidel Castro.

A skilled craftsman from Hanoi has dedicated a significant portion of his life to the art of bamboo and rattan weaving. In the attached photo, he can be seen showcasing his craftsmanship.

In 2007, the skilled artisan established the Phu Vinh Rattan and Bamboo Weaving Private Vocational Training Center. This center annually trains a significant number of young individuals, ranging from 300 to 500, in various provinces including Hanoi, Ha Giang, Hoa Binh, Nam Dinh, Phu Tho, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Tuyen Quang, and Vinh Phuc. Moreover, the founder, Trung, has personally trained 600 workers across multiple provinces, with 65% of them currently employed in his company, enjoying a steady and reliable source of income.

Furthermore, he has generously established and sponsored 22 free vocational training programs, catering to over 600 individuals with disabilities. These training courses alone have amounted to an approximate cost of VND50 million per class. Additionally, he has actively supported this cause by purchasing their handcrafted products at preferential rates.

He has been recognized for his exceptional talent and achievements with numerous certificates of merit and national and international accolades. In 2005, he was honored with the title of “Craft Village Artisan” by the Vietnam Association of Craft Villages. Additionally, the Ha Tay Province People’s Committee named him “Ha Tay Artisan” in 2006, and he was further acknowledged as a “Folk Artisan” by the Hanoi People’s Committee in 2009.

Artisan Nguyen Van Trung, a highly skilled craftsman, has received visits and encouragement from numerous state leaders. In recognition of his exemplary contributions to the industry and trade sector, he was presented with a certificate of merit by the Hanoi People’s Committee in 2015. A cherished accomplishment for him is the preservation of Phu Vinh’s ancient craft, which brings him great joy.