Saigon's artisans produce stunningly ornate work including lacquerware, woodblock prints, silk paintings, embroidery and Vietnamese calligraphy. In the past, calligraphers used Chinese characters but these days Roman script is used to write poetry, folk sayings or hopes for future good luck. The technique of making lacquerware was once veiled in mystery with families passing knowledge down through the generations. Vietnamese traditional art is widely available throughout HCMC.
During Chinese rule of Vietnam, Vietnamese artisans applied freshly learned Chinese techniques to art and ceramics in conjunction with the continued production of art based on native methods. French influence in art creation took hold by the 19th century in Vietnam, and had tremendous weight in the birth of modern Vietnamese art. Modern Vietnamese artists started to use French techniques with many traditional mediums including silk and lacquer. A unique blend of eastern and western elements was born. You can buy Vietnamese traditional art at many shops and galleries around Ho Chi Minh City.