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How has the tiger changed in more than 2,000 years of Vietnamese art?

There are times when the image of a tiger in Vietnamese art shows strength, majesty or fear, but there are times when the tiger is shaped as gentle and close as a domestic animal, surprising to everyone. viewers.

Historian Duong Trung Quoc looks at the exhibition – Photo: T.DIEU

This gentle tiger image in Vietnamese art in many periods according to historian Duong Trung Quoc is a very special cultural feature, showing that Vietnamese people since ancient times have chosen to live in harmony with nature, even if it is nature. most ferocious.

These tiger images are being introduced to the public by the National Museum of History in collaboration with the Hung Temple historical relic site and a number of private collectors in the thematic exhibition ” Tigers in ancient Vietnamese art” at No. 1 Trang Tien, Hanoi.

With just over 30 artifacts and documents, selected images from worshiping statues, decorative materials, and folk worship paintings, the display gives the public an overview of the very interesting movement of change. Tiger image through different stages of 2,000 years of Vietnamese art.

An ancient tiger statue with a funny shape is on display – Photo: T.DIEU

If the tiger in the art of the Dong Son Dynasty showed the worship of the power and majesty of this animal, then the art of the first 10 centuries AD was associated with the concept of the four statues (four spirits, four gods and beasts). ) with Thanh Long (guarding the East), Bach Ho (guarding the West), Chu Tuoc (guarding the South), Huyen Vu (guarding the North).

Because of its spiritual meaning, the Tiger’s religion is shaped away from the image of the tiger in reality.

The tiger statue in the Tran Dynasty tombs (1225 – 1400) has a strong and lively shape, showing courage and majesty, and is considered as a spirit animal to protect and protect the tombs.. .

Although there are not as many tigers in ceramic art as dragons, phoenixes, unicorns or birds, fish, ducks, deer, horses, etc. , archaeological artifacts show the presence of tigers on pottery quite early and related to them. customary, the earliest was on the brown-flowered ceramic jars of the Tran Dynasty.

They are shaped strong, lively, and courageous when chasing each other or chasing prey.

The image of a tiger also appears on many other pottery lines. These tiger images do not carry spiritual, religious, creed or fear, cult meanings like in previous periods but are usually cheerful and lively decorative projects.

The tiger is shaped in a simplified form, showing the innocent, rustic, witty and lively look of traditional folk art – Photo: T.DIUU

Tigers in village communal house sculpture of the 16th – 18th centuries are very special, very close, familiar, not dependent, constrained in shaping, they are diverse in methods, simplified in form, and expressed in vision. innocent, rustic, witty, full of vitality of traditional folk art.

The tiger in Hang Trong folk painting has the display of the Five Tigers – a famous painting that has been handed down for generations in the worship space. There are also tiger paintings according to the respective colors such as tiger bar, white tiger, chained tiger, black tiger.

The tiger in the art of the Nguyen Dynasty, in the 19th-20th centuries, was used to decorate a variety of things from the royal court to folklore, from religious and belief symbols to daily life. diverse.

The exhibition is open to visitors until August 31.

Some pictures of artifacts on display:

Lampstand decorated with tigers, elephants, 19th-century French bronze material – Photo: T.DII

The multi-colored blue-flowered ceramic wine vase is Chu Dau pottery of the 15th century – Photo: T.DIEU

A tiger carving on a 17th-century doorway in Me Linh, Hanoi – Photo: T.DIEU

Chu Dau ceramic plate in the 15th century painted with a tiger – Photo: T.DIU

Bat Trang ceramic tiger statue in the 18th century – Photo: T.DIU

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