To Play O An Quan

Nguyen Phan Chanh1931

Fukuoka Asian Art Museum

Fukuoka Asian Art Museum
Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan

After a history of using silk as a base for Buddhist paintings and portraits, at the beginning of the 20th century Vietnamese painters began to create so-called silk-paintings on themes taken from the lives of ordinary people. Nguyen Phan Chanh is called the father of silk-paintings, establishing his place in the history of modern art in Vietnam. "To Play O An Quan" is a landmark work in this genre. In addition to the novel theme portrayed, Nyugen created new expressive realms by fixing his pigments to the silk through repeated washings, thus building a lyric effect of subdued colors and supple forms. This work emerged from Nyugen's study of the everyday winter lives of villagers in Kim Lien village in Hanoi. Here young girls are intent upon their game of 'O An Quan' played with marbles, and time flows quietly past their intent forms. The use of Chinese characters in Nyugen's signature and his Chinese-style poetic inscription provides physical evidence of the long tradition of strong links between Vietnamese art and Chinese culture.


  • Title: To Play O An Quan
  • Creator: Nguyen Phan Chanh
  • Date: 1931
  • Physical Dimensions: w87.5 x h65.3 cm
  • Type: color on silk

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