Fine art decoration of the Family Chapels in Hoi An Ancient Town

Tuesday - 24/08/2021 00:01
The decoration of architecture, interior and exterior of family chapels in Hoi An Ancient Town has many themes of nature and daily life with patterns and motifs such as flowers and leaves, birds, dragons, carp, four symbols (Azure Dragon, Vermilion Bird, White Tiger, Black Tortoise).
The Truong Family Chapel - Photo: Hong Viet - Heritage Information and Document Division
        Each decorative theme has a different meaning expressing the wishes of the families for their architectural buildings. Fine art decorations of family chapels show the wishes of all descendants in the family praying for peace and prosperity and remembering ancestors. Bat symbolizes happiness, carp symbolizes abundance, remembering ancestors as well as encouraging studies. Themes of flowers (lotus, chrysanthemum...) and  five fruits (peach, pomegranate...) symbolize abundance, fullness and bring happiness to descendants. The themes of Chinese characters, four symbols or inanimate objects (coins, wine bottles, books)... all mean happiness, fortune, longevity and hope for descendants to be affluent, family to be prosperous.

        Taking a look at some decorative details in the family chapels, it can be seen that the expression as well as the decorative themes compared to the architectural buildings in Hoi An Ancient Town are basically the same. The only difference is the layout of the interior space as well as the worship space of the family chapels. This difference contributes to enriching the fine art decorations of the ancient town.

Author: Nguyễn Thị Ngà

Source: Hoi An Center for Cultural Heritage Management and Preservation

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