Hanoi craftsman has spent almost all his life for bamboo and rattan waving. Photo: Nguoi Ha Noi

Born in 1955 in Hanoi's Chuong My District, craftsman Nguyen Van Trung has devoted his whole life to rattan and bamboo weaving, and most of his products have President Ho Chi Minh as their theme.

More than 200 works about the late President Ho Chi Minh are his way of paying homage to the beloved old father of the nation.

Exquisite works of art

In the district's village of Phu Vinh, artisan Nguyen Van Trung's house is filled with rattan and bamboo handicrafts. The most impressive among them are the paintings of Uncle Ho, especially a hand-woven portrait that is 1.5 meters high and more than 1 meter wide. "This is one of my most labor-intensive works on the theme of Uncle Ho," said the veteran weaver.

It took Trung about two months to complete the portrait. Before that, he had to travel to many provinces to find suitable and quality materials.

Since he was a young man, Trung had cherished the desire to knit a beautiful rattan or bamboo image of Uncle Ho. This desire motivated him to constantly learn and hone his skills.

"I rehearse knitting Uncle Ho's portrait by weaving portraits of relatives and friends. But it was still difficult to portray Uncle Ho vividly," the master admitted.

The difficulties did not discourage Trung. His relative drove him dozens of miles to the Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Arts, where he asked the school's teachers for technical guidance. He also collected a myriad of Uncle Ho's paintings for reference before beginning his composition.

"To create a really vivid portrait, especially when the subject is President Ho Chi Minh, I have to study his pictures thoroughly, polish each thin white rattan thread, and use up to 15-16 weaving styles to compose," said craftsman Nguyen Van Trung.

Passing on the passion to the next generation

A unique image of Uncle Ho woven with bamboo and rattan yarn by artisan Nguyen Van Trung. Photo: Trong Tung

In 1976, craftsman Nguyen Van Trung succeeded in weaving his first portrait of Uncle Ho. Since then, he has continued to produce more than 200 paintings of the late President, mainly adoration portraits and paintings with themes such as Uncle Ho and Uncle Ton (late Vietnamese President Ton Duc Thang) or Uncle Ho with children. This is his own way of paying homage to the beloved old father of the nation.

These woven handicrafts are often seen at events promoting the handicrafts of trading villages, trade promotion fairs, and museums showcasing the capital's traditional handicraft villages, landscapes, and people.

Trung has also made significant contributions to the promotion of Vietnamese handicrafts abroad. In 1980, he received the "Creative Youth Award" in the Soviet Union. Then, he began working as a lecturer in bamboo and rattan weaving at the Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Arts. Three years later, he was sent by the State Scientific Committee and the Ministry of Higher Education to the Republic of Cuba as an expert to assist that country's handicraft training.

During his four years in the Caribbean country, Trung helped train 300 workers for a local weaving workshop. Before returning home in 1987, he presented the people of Cuba with a rattan portrait of the late leader Fidel Castro.

In 2007, the artisan founded Phu Vinh Rattan and Bamboo Weaving Private Vocational Training Center, which trains 300-500 young people every year in Hanoi and other provinces, including Ha Giang, Hoa Binh, Nam Dinh, Phu Tho, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Tuyen Quang and Vinh Phuc. Trung himself has also trained 600 workers in many provinces, 65% of whom are now working in his company and earning a stable income.

In addition, he has opened 22 free vocational training classes for more than 600   people with disabilities, spending about VND50 million per class. At the same time, he bought their products at preferential prices.

With his talent and contributions, he has received many certificates of merit and national and international certificates. He was named "Craft Village Artisan of 2005" by the Vietnam Association of Craft Villages, "Ha Tay Artisan of 2006" by the Ha Tay Province People's Committee, and "Folk Artisan of 2009" by the Hanoi People's Committee.

Artisan Nguyen Van Trung has also been visited and encouraged by many leaders of the State. In 2015, he was awarded a certificate of merit by the Hanoi People's Committee as an excellent role model in the patriotic emulation movement of the industry and trade sector. Above all, the greatest happiness of the talented craftsman comes from preserving   Phu Vinh's ancient craft.

Source: Hanoitimes