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Vietnamese man honors Year of the Buffalo with eggshell sculptures

Friday, January 29, 2021, 17:16 GMT+7
Vietnamese man honors Year of the Buffalo with eggshell sculptures
An eggshell scuplture is being put in a box to avoid damage. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

After first discovering eggshell art in 2015, a former art teacher in Ho Chi Minh City has taken it upon himself to learn the technique and create stunning eggshell sculptures that honor Vietnamese culture.

Tran Minh Nhut, now a resident of Tan An City, Long An Province, was a successful art teacher in Ho Chi Minh City before falling in love with eggshell sculptures – a unique art form in which he breathes fresh life into eggshells by transforming them into stunning models depicting traditional icons.

Tran Minh Nhut showcases a beautifully crafted eggshell at his workshop in Tan An City, Long An Province. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Tran Minh Nhut showcases a beautifully crafted eggshell at his workshop in Tan An City, Long An Province, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

“I found eggshell sculptures so interesting that I decided to try it out myself after watching a television program about them in 2015," Nhut recounted.

"It was really difficult at first, mainly because the tools I needed weren’t available in Vietnam. 

"It took me awhile to learn basic techniques like sucking out the yolk and properly drilling into the eggshell."

When he first started, he used duck eggs, before switching to chicken eggs and finally settling on ostrich eggs as a preferred medium. 

According to the sculptor, duck eggs are easier to carve than chicken eggs because the entire shell is typically a single, even color. 

As such, there is no need to focus on the density of the shell.

Tran Minh Nhut exhibits works on an eggshell sculpture at his workshop in Tan An City, Long An Province. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Tran Minh Nhut writes Vietnamese words on an eggshell at his workshop in Tan An City, Long An Province, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Shells that are selected for carving must be large, dark, and unbroken. 

Chicken eggs are simply washed before the carving process begins while duck eggs must be bleached.

After preparing the egg, Nhut sketches the carving onto the shell before he begins the engraving process.

Now, half a decade since he first entered the world of eggshell carving, Nhut is producing high-quality sculptures which he sells to the local market. 

The time it takes to complete each piece heavily depends on the scope of work, but even the simplest patterns take an entire day.

For each completed piece, Nhut earns VND200,000-300,000 (US$13-14) in revenue.

The tools which Nhut uses to create eggshell scuplture are seen in the photo. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

This image shows the tools which Tran Minh Nhut uses to create eggshell scupltures. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

For the upcoming lunar year – the Year of the Buffalo, Nhut has created several themed designs at the request of his customers.

“Traditional couplets and the mascot of the lunar year are usually well-received," Nhut said.

"Instead of decorating the room with familiar products, people hunt down new and unique items like my sculptures.”

In addition to sculpting, Nhut runs weekend workshops where children can learn how to create their own eggshell sculptures. 

An eggshell scuplture is being put in a box to avoid damage. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

An eggshell scuplture is put in a box to avoid damage. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

A customer purchases an eggshell scupture ahead of the lunar new year at Tran Minh Nhut’s workshop in Tan An City, Long An Province. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

A customer purchases an eggshell scupture ahead of the Lunar New Year at Tran Minh Nhut’s workshop in Tan An City, Long An Province, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Tran Minh Nhut’s eggshell sculptures on display at his workshop in Tan An City, Long An Province. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Tran Minh Nhut’s eggshell sculptures are on display at his workshop in Tan An City, Long An Province, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

A set of eggshell sculptures made by Tran Minh Nhut. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

A set of eggshell sculptures made by Tran Minh Nhut. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

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Linh To / Tuoi Tre News

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