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Exhibition showcases tigers in ancient Vietnamese art

Thursday, January 27, 2022, 11:07 GMT+7
Exhibition showcases tigers in ancient Vietnamese art
Vietnamese historian Duong Trung Quoc snaps a photo of a tiger painting at the ‘Tigers in Ancient Vietnamese Fine Art’ exhibition in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

As the 2022 Lunar New Year festival ushers in the Year of the Tiger, an exhibition showcasing tiger artifacts is now taking place in Hanoi to introduce the changes in tiger images over 2,000 years of Vietnamese fine art.

The National Historical Museum, Hung Kings Temple historical relics, and a few private collectors have collaborated to bring these tiger figures to the public at the exhibition 'Tigers in Ancient Vietnamese Fine Art.'

The display, taking place at 1 Trang Tien until August 31, features over 30 artifacts, documents, and selected images ranging from worship statues, decorative materials, and folktale worship paintings.

The exhibition sees tigers in different periods, including the first ten centuries when the tiger was associated with the ideology of the Four Guardians, namely the Azure Dragon of the East, the White Tiger of the West, the Vermilion Bird of the South, and the Black Tortoise of the North.

Meanwhile, tiger statues in Tran Dynasty tombs from 1225 to 1400 have a strong vivid picture to express courage and majestic beauty, and are said to be spirit creatures that guard the tombs.

Tigers are not as prevalent in ceramic art as dragons, phoenixes, kirins, birds, fish, ducks, deer, horses, and others, but archeological artifacts show the appearance of the tiger on clay objects very early and at a consistent rate, with the first indications being found on the Tran Dynasty’s ceramic jars with brown patterns.

Tigers found in sculptures at village halls from the 16th to 18th centuries were very distinctive and reflected the naive, rustic, and witty perspective of traditional folk art.

The exhibition also boasts tigers in Hang Trong folk painting through Ngu Ho (Five Tigers) – a famous artwork that has been persevered throughout many generations in worship areas.

Additionally, there are tiger paintings that correspond to colors such as the green tiger, white tiger, red tiger, and black tiger at the showcase.

Visiting the venue, spectators will also have the chance to see tigers used for decoration in a variety of objects from the royal court to folklore, from religion and belief symbols to daily life in the Nguyen Dynasty’s art around the 19th to 20th century.

An ancient tiger sculpture is displayed at the ‘Tigers in Ancient Vietnamese Art’ exhibition in Hanoi’s National Historical Museum. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

An ancient tiger sculpture is displayed at the ‘Tigers in Ancient Vietnamese Fine Art’ exhibition in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

Tiger sculptures are displayed at the ‘Tigers in Ancient Vietnamese Art’ exhibition in Hanoi’s National Historical Museum. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

Tiger figures are displayed at the ‘Tigers in Ancient Vietnamese Fine Art’ exhibition in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A lampstand made of copper with an enameled tiger and elephant design is displayed at Hanoi’s National Historical Museum. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A lampstand made of copper featuring an enameled tiger and elephant design is displayed at the ‘Tigers in Ancient Vietnamese Fine Art’ exhibition in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A ceramic wine bottle from the 15th century is displayed at the ‘Tiger in Ancient Vietnamese Art’ exhibition at Hanoi’s National Historical Museum. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A ceramic wine bottle from the 15th century is displayed at the ‘Tiger in Ancient Vietnamese Fine Art’ exhibition in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A tiger carving on a 17th-century window is on display at Hanoi’s National Historical Museum. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A tiger carving on a 17th-century window is on display at the ‘Tiger in Ancient Vietnamese Fine Art’ exhibition in Hanoi, VietnamPhoto: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A ceramic plate made from Chu Dau ceramic, Vietnam's high-class antique ceramic line, is displayed at Hanoi’s National Historical Museum. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A ceramic plate made from Chu Dau ceramic, Vietnam's high-class antique ceramic line, is displayed at the ‘Tiger in Ancient Vietnamese Fine Art’ exhibition in Hanoi, VietnamPhoto: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A tiger sculpture made of Bat Trang ceramic from the 18th century is seen in the photo. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A tiger sculpture made of Bat Trang ceramic from the 18th century is seen at the ‘Tiger in Ancient Vietnamese Fine Art’ exhibition in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

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