Hanoi's artisans produce stunningly decorative work including lacquerware, woodblock prints, silk paintings, embroidery and Vietnamese calligraphy. And while Vietnam's lacquer paintings may be more famous to Western travellers, the country also has a rich tradition of painting on canvas that combines European and Asian influences. After making the rounds of Hanoi's galleries, you may find yourself saturated with bicycles, monks and conical hats, so make sure to look around for something unique before you buy.
When China ruled Vietnam, Vietnamese artisans applied freshly learned Chinese techniques to creating art and ceramics in conjunction with native methods. French influence in art creation took hold by the 19th century and had tremendous weight in the birth of modern Vietnamese art. Modern Vietnamese artists began using French techniques with native Vietnamese mediums including silk and lacquer; thus, a unique blend of eastern and western artistry developed and flourished. You can buy Vietnamese traditional art at many galleries and shops throughout Hanoi.