Leaves as works of art

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Collages made from palmyra leaves are becoming popular among art aficionados in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang.

Artists use soldering irons to burn the leaves but the quality of the pictures depends very much on the skills of the artists.

The more than 200 different pictures made this way include portraits, landscapes and sacred objects.

Vo Van Tang, the creator of the artwork, said, “There are seven major steps in making a picture; and the most important and difficult step is the process of using a soldering iron to burn the palmyra leaf.”

The leaves that are used must be young and from trees that are 20 years of age or more.

Only the leaves of these mature trees are long and large enough, a basic requirement for a beautiful picture.

The leaves must first be dried in the sun before being cut into strips along their veins.

They are then stuck on a piece of Formica on which pictures are drawn in advance. Finally, a soldering iron is used to burn them in certain places.

“Pictures made using palmyra leaves have natural colors that will never fade,” Tang explained. The leaves are bright and beautiful but tough and can remain intact for hundreds of years.

Tang’s factory now employs dozens of workers to supply the needs of the market.

The factory is also busy producing pictures to meet the demand that is likely to surge during Tet (Lunar New Year) next month.

A collage created with palmyra leaves in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang

Reported by Chi Nhan

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