The history of traditional embroidery art

In Vietnam, embroidery work is a handcraft that existed long time in the past. The history of this traditional work connected closely with the spiritual history of the Vietnamese women in the past.
From the first century, beside the flag embroidered “to requite country’s debt and home’s revenge” by the rising up in arms of Hai Ba Trung, women of Vietnam also embroider in order to decorate the house, move over to show the confidence, sentiment and to make beautiful for themselves.

However, up to now, nobody knows the embroidery work of Vietnam that created from which period. Who is the first person created and change the normal sewing work to be an embroidery art?

The legend said that, from the beginning of the century 17, the embroidery of Vietnam had marked a turning-point of development. At that time, Mr. Le Cong Hanh (born on 18/01/1606- died on 12/06/1661) lived at Quat Dong hamlet, Quat Dong village, Thuong Tin Dist., Ha Tay province had collected experience and technique of folk embroidery art of Vietnam to disseminate widely the handicraft art.

Material used for embroidery at the time included natural dyes, such as : “ Tinctorial yam, Indigal plant, Indian almond pod, paletuvier water, leaves of phrynium, grinstone, multicolored stone…”. Many foreigners have admired Vietnamese embroidery : ”In seeing the dyes that looked dirty and ugly, it was quite amazing the tranformation after the tinting process was complete. ”

Traditionally, the art of embroidery had been done by Vietnamese women according to Confucianist concept that Vietnamese have to have four virtues ; “labour, appearance, speech and behaviour.”As ourancestors often said :

“Men read books and declare poems.
Women have to do embroidery and sewing.”

Almost women know how to embroider; however, concentration and professional character for long time started in Hue, when the regime of Nguyen King constructed at Hue, Mrs. Hoang Thi Cuc, mother of King Bao Dai, she accompanied with Nam Phuong Queen coordinated the advantages of embroidery technique of Europe with genius of Asia to establish embroidery work to become an embroidery art of the Imperial palace, related to charming, fine, detailed characters of the Hue women.
Gabrielle, a female French scholar specializing in the studing of Orieltal Cultures, wrote “In many place, people have transmitted, through genneration , an extraordinary art, which was to draw in threads, making lotus flower open on silk, butterflies on blue water surface. Vietnamese embroiderers are more skillful than the Chinese in their use of sewing with the fine lines and their methods of mix colours….”

Hocquard , an author, said about the embroidery at the end of 19th century: “The Vietnamese embroiderers were very clever in distributing colour on silk to harmonise embroidered pieces without any contrast.”

The risen and fallen century passed by, the embroidery work was up and down but it kept the cultural character of country.

In the early 1990s of the 20 century, the silk embroidered paintings of Vietnam come over and develop to the top of embroidery art.

When XQ company established, a couple of artists, Vo Van Quan and Hoang Le Xuan had scheduled a new way for the field by coordinating characters of painting with fine characters of traditional embroidery art that Mrs. Hoang Le Xuan – come from family of Hue city – had inherited and created.

Nowadays, XQ Vietnam silk hand embroidery pictures that are connected with kind of music, poem, painting. Through by the subjects about the living – the death – hope – the hidden things and characters of human condition, embroidery art has created the view of our world, through the images of musical world and it is performed by the traditional art of country.

Vietnamese embroidery

Vietnamese hand embroidery is a 700-year-old tradition. Usually, tiny threads are used to create brightly coloured pictures on cloth. It is a popular extracurricular activity for young girls in high school together with cooking and cloth sewing. It was a part of Vietnamese culture; traditionally, girls are expected to know how to decorate pillowcases, curtains and tablecloths with hand embroidery.

Since the 1960s, hand embroidery in Vietnam has been raised to the level of an art. Many large pictures in different sizes, some as large as 2.5 × 2 yards, have been made. Popular topics include Vietnamese history, landscapes, animals, flowers, and religious scenes.

To welcome the Vietnam Heritage Day, November 23, National Museum of Vietnamese History organizes a temporary exhibition with the name: “Traditional embroidery art of Viet n am ” with the Museum’s objects show to audiences at the first time. 

To welcome the Vietnam Heritage Day, November 23, National Museum of Vietnamese History organizes a temporary exhibition with the name: “Traditional embroidery art of Vietnam” with the Museum’s objects show to audiences at the first time. 

Embroidery is a traditional handicraft of Vietnam, from early of AD, Viet people knew about embroidery, 17th century the the embroidery developed with many new technologies. Nowadays, the embroidery more and more develops with various traditional craft village.

Quat Dong village, Thuong Tin district (Ha Noi) is a traditional village of handicraft from 17th century. The embroidery in Quat Dong has been reached to the sosphicicated and refined. Embroidery art works from Quat Dong satisfy both foreign and domestic customers.             

The exhibition opens to audiences from November 23, 2009 to January 31, 2010.