Restoration of famous Vietnamese painting finished

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Nguyen Gia Tri 's "Dam ruoc" after being restored

The restoration of "Dam ruoc," a famous painting by eminent Vietnamese artist Nguyen Gia Tri, has been completed at the French General Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City.

Created by Nguyen Gia Tri (1908-1993) 74 years ago, "Dam ruoc" is a 5.4-square-meter painting, which is now owned by the French Consulate.

The work is comprised of nine smaller lacquer paintings, featuring traditional Vietnamese scenes from the early of the 20th century.

"I and three other painters who specialize in lacquer have worked very hard over the last month to restore as much as the original version of the painting as we could," said Nguyen Lam, the local artist chosen by the Consulate to head the restoration.

"We started by cleaning it of dust, removing the portions that were peeling or otherwise damaged, and then dealt with the parts which were harmed by the termites. Then we reconstructed the color of the painting. During this process, we continually reminded ourselves to strictly adhere to the style and original colors used by Nguyen Gia Tri."

Previously, the Consulate had been planning on restoring the painting for a long time, but was unable to find somebody suitable to do the work.

Among the Japanese, French and Vietnamese experts they sought out, none of them knew enough about lacquer and if they did, they wanted to work outside the Consulate, which the Consulate would not permit.


Nguyen Lam works on the restoration of "Dam ruoc" at the France Consulate General in HCMC. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre

The recommendation of French artist Remy Jullien persuaded the French Consulate to hire Nguyen Lam to head the restoration efforts.

But it took three months for his restoration plan to be approved by the French government.

"Dam ruoc" was firstly presented after being restored at a ceremony held on November 4 at the France General Consulate.

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