The Arts, Art and Architecture
Lacquerware, Abstract painting, tile roofs, architectural styles, Ho Chi Minh City
In the precolonial era, art and architectural styles were patterned after those in China. Traditional Vietnamese religious temples and official buildings were usually constructed of wood with tile roofs and typically included intricate carvings. Painting, usually on silk, followed classical modes current in China with an emphasis on landscapes, birds and plant life, and calligraphy. Sculpture, in wood or in stone, was usually Buddhist in inspiration. The ceramics industry was relatively well developed, and artisans produced wares both for household use, such as bowls and plates, and for religious purposes, such as statues.
After the French conquest, Western styles predominated. Official buildings were often built in French colonial style, and schools of Western painting became popular. These trends have continued to the present. Architecture now tends to follow international styles, although there is some effort to preserve the distinctive character of major cities such as Hanoi, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City. Abstract painting has become popular, although traditional modes and folk art continue to attract interest. Lacquerware and woodwork are produced primarily for the tourist trade.
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