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Silk paintings, a familiar line of art that has traversed many generations, hold a unique beauty and cultural value in Vietnamese tradition. Over time, this art form has evolved, adapting to modern techniques and materials.

Material and Technique


Silk painting encompasses various types of silk, each with its own texture and fiber quality. The thickness of the silk fibers plays a significant role in the painting process, resulting in distinct differences in the artwork. In the past, rural areas relied on handmade silk weaving for their daily needs. One particular type of silk called beechcloth, known for its coarse texture, was used to sew clothes and make bags for statues.

Paint Color

Traditionally, silk paintings used natural colors derived from readily available materials. These nature-based colors, such as bamboo charcoal ash for black, indigo leaves for green, rose water or wine wood for yellow, and small canopy for white, were known for their longevity and authenticity. However, in modern times, many artists have embraced paints with a bolder and thicker consistency, such as temperas, gouache, and pastels.

Steps to Create Modern Silk Paintings

Drawing pictures on silk has undergone a transformation compared to the traditional technique. In the past, artists painted directly on dry silk. Nowadays, artists dye and re-dye silk to achieve their desired colors. Before painting, the silk is stretched tightly on a frame to ensure a smooth surface. Subsequently, the artist applies a mixture of liquid rice flour and alum to the silk surface, preserving its true colors. Guided by artistic inspiration, the artist begins strokes on the silk cloth, creating layers of color to bring the artwork to life. Lighter colors are typically applied first, while bolder shades are added later. Once completed, the artist delicately washes the silk to remove any impurities, ensuring a perfect image.

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The Value of Silk Paintings

Silk paintings adhere to the rules of composition but also reflect the individuality and perspective of each artist. Silk itself is fragile and soft, giving these artworks a distinctive charm. In terms of artistic expression, silk paintings excel in conventional decorative qualities rather than realistic representations. Although they may not possess the same strength as oil paintings, silk paintings offer unique advantages and abundant artistic possibilities due to the characteristics of the silk material.

Let's learn about the art of painting on silk


This article aimed to shed light on the captivating world of silk painting. By providing valuable insights, it strives to deepen your understanding of this art form. Discover the allure of silk paintings, where tradition harmonizes with modern techniques, and let your artistic journey unfold.

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