Black magic: Turning coal into art

Thanh Nien News

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Quang Ninh Province, home to the famous Ha Long Bay, has large reserves of anthracite coal which account for 90 percent of Vietnam's coal output.
But not many know that coal has been used to make art here since the early 20th century.
The French first brought the art of coal carvings into Quang Ninh. Local artists then kept the craft flourishing.
There used to be a cooperative named Hong Gai for craft artists who made paintings and other fine art works from anthracite coal. But the cooperative was shut down in 1986.
The artists had to do run their businesses all by themselves. Currently, there are around seven households specializing in coal carvings in Quang Ninh.
Below are photos of coal-carved handiworks at the shop owned by Nguyen Tuan Quyet and his wife Nguyen Thi Binh. Binh succeeded her father Nguyen Tuan Loi, a sculptor, as the owner of their family business.
Coal carving craftsman Nguyen Van Xuan, who has six years of experience, is carving a tiger from coal. Photo credit: VnExpress 
The rock starts to take shape under the skillful hands of the craftsman. 
Simple tools for coal carving 
 A handiwork depicting the foot of Buddha
Nguyen Tuan Quyet, who runs the shop, and a coal-carved handiwork  
A coal-carved handiwork depicting Ha Long Bay 
A coal figurine 
A coal buffalo 
A coal rose 

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