A great love for Vietnamese lacquer

All observers of Mrs. Tamiko Hattori's exhibition at her residence in Hanoi were very impressed by her professional hand-made lacquer paintings, which follow the Vietnamese style. Mrs. Tamiko Hattori is the spouse of Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam

Though she is just an amateur painter, her talent has compensated for her relatively short 3 years of study and she is able to produce outstanding lacquer paintings. Some of her lacquer works were decorated skillfully with several attractive colors, unique items, materials and cubes. In this way, they differ from Vietnamese traditional paintings. Simple materials, including withered leaves, branches, or flowers, have been used by this Japanese art lover to convey meaningful messages.


From the "Walks in Hanoi" to "Goddess of Mercy", from the "Love Letter to Mars" to"The Civilization " or "Dance", all of the works convey agenerous affection for the Vietnamese people, culture and nature. Although, Mrs. Tamiko Hattori had never painted any works before her arrival to Vietnam in November 2002, she felt in love with Vietnamese-styled lacquer paintings at first sight. Lacquer decoration is very popular in Japan but she was attracted to the new techniques of the Vietnamese style. Vietnamese artist often use lacquer in paintings while Japanese usually use lacquer with items such as plates and boxes.


Thanks to the introduction of her friends, Mrs. Tamiko Hattori joined a class at the Hanoi College of Fine Arts to learn how to make lacquer paintings. Her teacher was Mrs. Le Thi Kim My, an experienced lacquer artist. Initially, it was very difficult because a lacquer painter must not o­nly be talented, but must also concentrate well and have a meticulous eye for detail. Fortunately, Mrs. My was of great assistance.Mrs. Tamiko Hattori and all the other students highly respect their Vietnamese teacher, as she never requires her foreign students to follow a particular art model but encourages them to use their creativity. The devoted heart of the teacher was a spiritual bridge to link the students with Vietnam and Vietnamese art.Mrs. Tamiko Hattori was inspired to work hard o­n her Vietnamese-style lacquer paintings.Although she is the wife of the Ambassador, she was willing to immerse her hands in cold water for many hours o­n cold days in order to make her paintings. She collected many leaves from the Hanoi streets to enhance her lacquer works. She spends several months o­n each work, and she presents these valuable items to her closest relatives or friends. During her 3 years in Vietnam, she has become very familiar with Vietnamese life and people. She loves Hanoi, the capital, with its lakes and green trees; she loves the Vietnamese people, who are so hospitable and friendly. She also loves tasting Vietnamese traditional food and wearing ao dai. And of course, she has a great love for lacquer paintings. She says that even after departing from Vietnam at the end of her husband's mission, her love for lacquer paintings will never change. She will continue to study itwhenever she can, and she wishes to have a chance to teach it to foreigners as well. Vietnam will always be in her heart.

by Thuc Hanh