Hand embroidery is a big part of the Vietnamese culture; traditionally, girls are expected to know how to decorate pillowcases, curtains and tablecloths with hand embroidery. Since the 1960s, hand embroidery has risen to the level of an art form with popular themes including landscapes, animals, flowers, religious scenes and Vietnamese history.
It’s not actually known when embroidery art arrived in Vietnam; tribute is often paid to Le Cong Hanh, who served as Vietnam’s envoy to China during the Ming Dynasty, as the founding father of the craft at the beginning of the 17th century. Le Cong Hanh is believed to have combined both Chinese and Vietnamese embroidery artistry creating the unique technique employed in Vietnam today.
We had the opportunity to visit the Su Quan Embroidery Village which spreads across a large wooded area overlooking a lush valley in Dalat, in the central highlands if Vietnam. The ambient complex features spacious showrooms dedicated to stunning embroidered paintings; a variety of temple-style shophouses selling silk garments; landscaped rock gardens with small ponds garnished with orchids, sculptures, ferns and stonewalls embellished with colourful flowerpots and ancient Chinese calligraphy.
All around the village, young Vietnamese crafts-women, dressed in traditional clothes known as “ao dai”, embroider intricate portraits and country landscapes, as curious tourists look on in amazement.
The Su Quan Village is the creation of the X-Q Embroidery Company, established by a married couple – Vo Van Quan and his wife, Hoang Le Xuan – both of whom are master artists. In 1994, they set up the Dalat centre as a group with 20 artisans to learn the skills of embroidery art. Today, there are more than 3,000 embroiderers working at the company.
Photography is forbidden in the main showroom so my photos of such amazing paintings are limited. However, you can browse a large selection of the creations on their website.