Vietnamese wood carving – handicraft from artist

I. Introduction to Vietnamese wood carving

The art of wood sculpture is found in many countries around the world and has many different styles. In Vietnam, wooden statue carving is a traditional profession that is thousands of years old. From wooden products serving daily life: columns, rafters, tables, chairs, beds… to wooden labor tools: plows, knife handles, sickles… to sculptures that are works of art unique, through the hands of artisans with elaborate carvings that turn inanimate pieces of wood into soulful works containing cultural value.
Under the “pressure” and strict requirements of today’s society, in order to maintain the traditional craft of wood sculpture, the requirements for the work must be even higher. The art of sculpting wooden statues must be more realistic, bringing closeness to the viewer.
Vietnam has dozens of wood craft villages, in which wood carving is also scattered throughout the country. Artists not only need to have the dexterity of their hands and imagination of the mind, but also need to master the skills Strict regulations on the process of making statues, movements, posture, size, costumes and basic characteristics of each type of statue. With creative, sophisticated thinking and skillful hands, artisans unleash their creativity and pour their souls into their “spiritual children”.
The art of sculpting wooden statues has appeared in our country for thousands of years, especially as society develops and people’s material and spiritual lives are improved, so does the need to enjoy artistic products. The sculpture is even higher. Some people are even willing to spend large amounts of money to buy a valuable sculpture, especially handmade sculptures.
To preserve and develop this traditional profession, artisans look for people who truly love the profession, have creativity and an artistic eye to impart decades of experience in their profession. Thanks to that, the profession of carving wooden statues has developed until today.

II. The process of carving a wooden work

With the profession of sculpting statues, the process from start to finish is very rigorous. Starting from researching available samples, then choosing materials that suit the nature and purpose of the statue.
Next comes the posing step. This is the stage where the artist will create the initial shape for the statue on the piece of wood he has chosen. The shape of the statue here will be the initial, rudimentary shape to later create clearer details.
After shaping, there will be a stamping stage, a chiseling stage, a cutting stage, and a detailed chiseling stage. These stages are intended to create clearer lines for the statue. Here, it is clear that the details from the template must be reflected in the statue being sculpted and considered a nearly completed statue. into a complete one.
Next are the steps such as sanding paper, creating shadows and assembling the details of the statue. These steps are the steps to complete a rough statue with clear detailed lines.

III. Characteristics of Vietnamese wood carving

a) Carved wood type
The first step before sculpting wooden statues as required is to choose wood, according to the standard, usually wood with standard color, clear wood grain, suitable for the application and if it has a scent, even better.
– Wood incense: has characteristics of being hard, solid, heavy but easy to work with, has a fragrant scent that helps avoid termites. The deep grain of Huong wood sculpts the wooden statue with sophistication and sharpness. Huong wood is chosen by many people to make statues because of its many good and rare properties, the material is not rare, and the price is affordable.
– Rosewood: has beautiful grain, thin and short roots so it is sharp, smooth wood grain, slightly sour smell, high density, very hard.
– Cam wood: Dark or light red in color, high oil quality, clear and diverse texture.
– Skimmed wood: both hard and flexible, resistant to weather, has beautiful grain and a light scent.
– Yellow sandal wood is also one of the rare types of wood with a scent similar to the famous agarwood in Vietnam. Not as expensive as agarwood, but agarwood has a great fragrance and quality that is not inferior to it. The wood is soft, durable, and easy to carve, making this wood a popular choice for interior decoration as well as perfume making. Yellow sandalwood is also one of the rare types of wood that is rarely affected by termites, so it is chosen for home furniture. It also has the effect of repelling cockroaches, mice, spiders, etc.
How to identify: The wood has a scent similar to agarwood, a pleasant, relaxing scent. The wood is not affected by termites, there is snow (white patches) on the wood.
–  Sulfur wood: white, red, yellow sandalwood is also known by the folk name of sua wood. It belongs to group I of rare and fragrant woods in Vietnam. The wood is soft, contains essential oils like agarwood, so it is not affected by termites, and is used for furniture such as beds and wardrobes.
How to identify: There are 2 ways to identify sandal wood, the first method is based on fragrance. Use a sharp knife to scrape the wood until you see a red color, then smell it directly. If it smells similar to agarwood, then yes. Another way can be to rely on the outer shell. White sandalwood has a thick, pale white outer layer, red sandalwood has red veins on the trunk, and light sandalwood has a light yellow color, sometimes turning brown.
–  Pine wood: characterized by softness and lightness, light orange-yellow color, straight and even grain.
–  Ebony wood: is a hard, heavy and brittle wood with beautiful wood grain. When newly crafted, it is usually dark green in color, and after a period of use, it gradually turns glossy black.
–  In addition, you can also choose types of wood such as Xoan Dao, Hoang Dan, Red Oak,… to carve wooden statues or worship tables.
b) Types of wood carving

Vietnamese wooden statue carving is influenced by culture, wood carving products include: Buddhism statue carving, Carved wood furniture
– Buddhism statue carving:

– Carved wood furniture:

The statue is made of Vietnamese red rosewood,

The statue is made of Vietnamese red rosewood,