I consider myself an introverted art lover. I seldom express extreme love for any form of art. The art I accidentally came across in Hoi An is one of those few instances, which I want to mention to as many people as I can.
It was quite a steamy day in Hoi An when I was excitedly exploring the tourist attractions in the ancient town. After visiting the Japanese Bridge and Hainan Assembly Hall, I desperately craved some air-conditioning to escape the Muggy weather outside. My travel essentials list that consists of sunscreen, sunglasses, sun protection hat, etc. seemed to have accepted defeat in soothing the effect of heat.
I came across a place called Le Loi Fashion that looked like an air-conditioned art gallery. I at once entered and took a breath of relief. It looked like a silk art gallery. A young lady came to me and invited me to have a look at the artistry inside the gallery. My irregular heartbeat was back to normal as I walked towards the hall. As soon as I entered the hall, my eyes were drawn to the stuning artful paintings hanging on the walls all around me.
When the paintings caught me by surprise
"Wow! That is a beautiful painting!" I exclaimed while looking at the painting depicting the face of an old lady. It was such excellent work with minute details showing the fine lines of aging, wrinkles, etc. "How much is that painting for?" I asked one of the staff members. "That would be $100". Being a dilettante, I was still admiring the refined specifics of the artworks when I observed the paintings were not made merely by using oil colors. As I moved closer to one of those paintings, a shout escaped from my mouth, "Fabulous! That's just wonderful!" I could not believe what I had seen. Those paintings were all embroidered.
Listening to my scream (it was loud enough for that quiet hall), the young lady, who I had met at the entrance, was already by my side to assist me. "Are all the paintings in the gallery embroidered?" "Yes, these are all embroidered with silk threads. You are most welcome to the weaving section, in case you want to witness how the paintings get weaved".
In the weaving section, 8-10 young girls and boys were sewing embroidered pictures taking reference from the original photo. I was astonished while looking at the intricate work they were doing so steadily. A girl was weaving a landscape, using different shades of blue and green color for the shaded effect (just like in the original photo), it almost looked like paint strokes. Surprisingly, this gallery was not a part of our travel guide.
"Because they have to be able to see very well to do this work, the workers here are all young." the lady interrupted my thoughts. "Fantastic! I love it! Art requires a hell lot of patience", I still had not been able to go back to the introverted side of me as an art lover. Photography was not allowed, but I somehow managed to capture what I thought was a masterpiece - A boy taking a bath under a tap. The shades of the skin of the boy and the spilled water were mindblowing. I am sure it wouldn't have taken less than a month to create that gem.
Having over 1,000 years of Chinese presence in Vietnam, both embroidery and needlework are a vibrant part of artistic traditions in Vietnam. Notably, Vietnamese culture was heavily influenced by Chinese culture in terms of politics, government, social and moral ethics, and art.
Those exceptionally finely silk-embroidered pictures left me enchanted. Make sure that Le Loi Fashion is a part of your travel guide when you visit Hoi An, one of the most popular holiday destinations. The paintings would make for a remarkable souvenir to take back home.