Friday, January 20, 2012

A visit to master calligrapher Minh Đức Triều Tâm Ảnh, at his pagoda

Based on short syllables, the Vietnamese language, like Chinese, lends itself easily to comfortable layout on vertical pillars, left below, or on horizontal lintels--the natural wood slab here is a favorite format. 
On my recent trip to Vietnam, I was fortunate to visit Minh Đức Triều Tâm Ảnh, a calligrapher who contributed his work to my book Learn World Calligraphy.  I had written to him using paper and ink, more than a year ago, and had then exchanged email arrangements with one of his students, Tran, who offered to act as translator plus take me to Minh Đức's remote pagoda on his moped.

The 40-minute trek took us over some very muddy, bumpy roads, but the effort was repaid by the absolute beauty and tranquility of the grounds and buildings.  Many hand-lettered signs in the Thu Phap style blended brush techniques with Roman letters--a unique Vietnamese specialty and the reason I'm so interested in the style.  It looks like he was one of its first practitioners, or at least one of its earliest exhibitors, in the Hue Festival 1985. 

Minh Đức spent several hours with me, and sent me off to a simple lunch [the monks' single daily meal] at 11:00.  I'm hoping to follow up on his generous invitation to come back for longer next year. 


  1. Happy to hear that you shared bottle of Calligraphy Vietnam.
    I was also the name Minh Hoang Vietnam Calligraphy. I hope you have to share the same fate of the art form of our country.
    Wish you a happy day.

  2. I hope to visit Vietnam again next year.