Artisans keep the soul of traditional paper masks

Friday, 2018-09-21 13:44:22
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In a small house on Hang Than Street, Hanoi, paper masks are produced under the skilful hands of an old couple on every Mid-Autumn Festival.
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NDO - Crafted paper masks are the traditional toys of Hanoians during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Previously, this kind of toy was very popular and attracted great attention from children in the capital city. However, over time, this traditional toy has gradually fallen into oblivion and only a few artisans remain attached to this profession.

With nearly 40 years of experience in this profession, the couple of Nguyen Van Hoa and Dang Huong Lan are one of the last artisan families to stick to and keep the "secrets" of making traditional paper masks.

Amid the fast approaching Mid-Autumn Festival, the couple are working hard to make masks to deliver to their customers.

Making a traditional mask is really a process of art, requiring countless stages and effort. Firstly, the artisans have to tear newspapers to pieces.

Next, the artisan will paste the paper pieces on the bottom layer of cement moulds in the shape of animals.

Painting is one of the most important stages because it will determine the "soul" of the mask. Only when a colour is dry, can the artisan paint a new colour. A multicolour mask must be painted many times to ensure that the mask is not blotched.

After completion, the masks should be exposed to the sun, not the dryer, because the dryer will curl and deform the mask.

In the Mid-Autumn season, the couple make more than 2,000 masks of all kinds with the price ranging from VND30,000-VND45,000 per mask, depending on the type, size, and colour of the mask.

Many people wish to buy traditional paper masks each Mid-Autumn season.