Monday, 24/06/2024

Hue painted enamel

Update12/29/2017 5:05:43 PM
Hue painted enamel (photo:
Hue painted enamel (photo:

After nearly 150 years long reign of Nguyen dynasty, Hue is home to great cultural heritages. Of all, researchers and conservationists are now concerning about recovering painted enamel (decorative purpose and artworks) 

Today, 98 painted enamel artifacts including bowl, cup, tray, dish, flower vase, box, censer and incense burner, etc are being on display at Hue Royal Fine Arts Museum. Besides, painted enamel was also used to decorate bát bửu (the eight precious objects), Chinese literature, etc on Hue Citadel architectures. Majority of these painted enamel artifacts were made by Vietnamese, while some were probably bought from China as porcelain at the same period. Chinese guess artisans probably also supported during painted enamel making process.

Through painted enamel documents, books and artifacts on display at Hue Royal Fine Arts Museum as well as architectures under Nguyen dynasty, it shows that Vietnamese artisans learned, invented and successfully made invaluable artworks. Hue painted enamel appeared under the reign of king Minh Mang, Thieu Duc and Tu Duc. In these heyday periods, Nguyen dynasty concerns about constructing capital, temples and making decoration serving royal life. In this attempt, many artisans were sent to China – the country which was famous for handicraft at the time. For this reason, some painted enamel products had been bought from foreign countries before the technique appeared in Hue.

Hue painted enamel artifacts belongs to enamel painting. As these products were only used in Hue Court, "Hue painted enamel" refers to painted enamel in Vietnam under Nguyen dynasty. Due to limited techniques, contemporary painted enamel products  were not as beautiful as foreign ones, especially thoes made from China. However, these products prove Vietnamese creativity and culture, as well as reflect national economy and politics in independent and sovereign period under Nguyen dynasty. Being considered as a luxurious, precious and elegant treasure, enamel wares were only used to decorate palaces and solemn temples such as Thai Hoa palace (Imperial city, Hue city), Hoa Khiem palace (Tu duc tomb), Bieu Duc palace (Thieu Tri tomb), etc or royal household appliance such as bowl, dish, tray, flower vase, etc or sacrifice objects such as censer, incense burner, etc. Painted enamel making is very costly due to oversea materials and its complicated process