The meaning of Tan Suu and the image of a buffalo in Vietnamese folk art 7 minutes to read

The meaning of Tan Suu and the image of a buffalo in Vietnamese folk art 7 minutes to read


On the first day of the new year, let’s find out how special this year’s mascot is!

So the train named Canh Ty 2020 has stopped, at the station of ‘journey of life’, Tan Suu 2021 will be the next train to take us to new lands to draw many interesting things for you. life. Bringing the image of a “New Buffalo”, this year 2021 promises to be full of new creations and is worth waiting for everyone.

A bit of a gong about the origin of this year’s mascot – Tan Suu.

According to the concept of East Asian countries and Vietnam, Tan Suu is constituted by Thien Can is Tan (Kim) and Chi Chi is Ox (Buffalo), corresponds to 2nd place in the table of 12 zodiac animals. The reason the buffalo is standing in this position is because the table of 12 zodiacs obey the zodiac and the constellations position corresponds to the ‘working’ time of the zodiac animals, the second position starts from 1am – 3pm. This is also the time when the buffalo chew the grass to prepare for the plowing.

With the symbolic image of a buffalo, associated with the wet rice culture of Vietnam, representing the benevolence, diligence, diligence and abundant energy source, bringing the beauty of enthusiastic labor. Accompanying the Vietnamese people from time immemorial, when carrying the responsibility is the bag on the shoulders “The buffalo is an inheritance.”, plays an extremely important role in agriculture and is also a close friend for generations. Buffalo image has been shown in all areas of spiritual life for thousands of years.

Buffalo statue of Ngo Thanh culture (left) and Dien Viet culture (right)

Appears in all aspects of folk arts, from poetry, poetry, singing to ca dao, proverbs, drama, theater. The images of buffalo are always close and especially clear in the aesthetic expression of the lines of paintings and sculptures. It is considered to have a beautiful aesthetic image when put into the art, both with a solid shape showing in the body, and with graceful curves coming from the horns, plus a close closeness. bundled in daily life, so the image of buffalo frequently appears in folk arts is extremely popular.

The earliest found are terracotta statues with buffalo images at archaeological sites such as Tien Hoi, Dong Dau … dating back more than 3000 years, or engravings on the surface of Bac Ly bronze drums of the ancient Vietnamese. Along with that are the buffalo head ornaments made of polished stone, found at Dinh Trang relic.

Dong Son cultural buffalo statue
Buffalo head jewelry at Dinh Trang relic

Not only that, but the images of the ‘Ox’ have long been present on familiar everyday objects such as bowls, dishes, and ceramic pots as a decorative theme to describe the daily life of people. people.

Tea plate of Nguyen Dynasty

But perhaps the most impressive is the expression on traditional lines, when transformed by folk artists, creating extremely real and vivid images of buffalo.

Dong Ho painting

Referring to the most prominent traditional lines is probably Dong Ho in Bac Ninh. Appeared from the 17-18 century, Dong Ho painting became ‘items’ indispensable every Tet comes with the purpose of home decoration thanks to the peaceful colors and the images that are always close to daily life.

The image of a buffalo in Dong Ho painting also has a special beauty, not rough, but stylized to create a softness but does not lose its fitness, somewhere viewers can see the mischievous and friendly features.

The most typical image of a buffalo in this line of paintings can be listed as:

Buffalo Fighting Painting

Painting Blank

Unlike Dong Ho, Hang Trong paintings bring an eye-catching beauty because of the diversity in expressions from images, themes to colors. As a result, Hang Trong painting has a more spatial depth than 2D in Dong Ho. Appearing in the 16th century and mainly used for the purpose of worship in religion, is the result of the elite interference between Buddhism and Confucianism; between the worship and sculpture images in the temple temple and the beauty in daily cultural activities.

Also, the buffaloes of Hang Trong bring a new feeling to viewers. Not bound by the color gamut, the appearance is somewhat elegant, but there is still the gentle, sincere and leisurely character that exudes the character of the farmer.

Village Painting

Another line of paintings well known in Vietnam and known mainly in Hue, dating back to the 15th century, but Lang Sinh paintings are different from Dong Ho (Bac Ninh), Hang Trong (Hanoi) paintings for the purpose of single is served worship, and then burned.

The buffalo in Sinh village is somewhat monotonous and softer than Dong Ho or Hang Trong, but still clearly expresses his hard-working spirit and is an important animal in agriculture.

In each traditional painting line, the image of buffalo has a unique shape derived from the unique mark of each region, but in all, they still carry the silhouette of Vietnamese farmers. close and gentle personality. Not showing too fussy but open from the most everyday activities.

From traditional to modern, what to see in Tan Suu

According to the eastern people since ancient times, they have found 28 main stars in the two octaves, of which Niu of the constellation Xuanwu in the north, is a bright star and is often attached to people with wisdom. Wisdom Viet, along with the image of a buffalo always enthusiastically working, has a sense of prosperity and prosperity, this also contributes to signaling that a year 2021 brings many new changes, prosperity, is a hit. ‘reach out’ waking up after a long day of hibernation.

Implementation: Hoang

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