Nguyen Bao Toan’s Earth by Fire and Zodiac

14:11 | 22/03/2015 Society

(VEN) - Nguyen Bao Toan has been recognized as a master of ceramic art for many years. However, I was surprised at the sheer range and volume of art pieces displayed in his home, which is located down a small alley in Kim Ma Street, Hanoi.

Nguyen Bao Toan’s Earth by Fire and Zodiac

When I first met painter Nguyen Bao Toan, it was not in his studio in Gia Lam, but in his small home in Kim Ma Street where his ceramic art pieces adorn the walls and cover the floors, indicating his long voyage in this trade.

I asked him about his ceramic exhibitions and he said that he had done so many and for so long that he could not remember them all going back to the beginning. However, the Earth by Fire and Zodiac exhibition held in late 2014 was considered a landmark in his 40-year journey in ceramic art.


The Earth by Fire and Zodiac exhibition offered visitors a broad view of ceramics through 70 ceramic art pieces, and representing the twelve signs of the zodiac. Displayed in a unique setting, these ceramics of white clay or artificial clay, and decorated with blue-enameled patterns on a dark sepia background, were praised for their harmonization of classic and modern ceramic art trends.

Nguyen Bao Toan was born and grew up in Hanoi. He was educated in the Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Arts’ Ceramic Department. He has been working as a specialist in the restoration and repair of antique ceramic art at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum for more than three decades, and has acquired a wealth of knowledge regarding different local ceramic art.

“The pieces displayed at the Earth by Fire and Zodiac exhibition were very close to my heart, as I had cherished them for a long time, and every one of them bears classic ceramic characteristics,” said Nguyen Bao Toan.

Toan’s Earth by Fire exhibition was first held in 1994 and he continued to hold several others in later years. His exhibitions were praised as mix of contemporary and traditional, where new changes were introduced, but were still based on the antique ceramic art. In his work, experience is coupled with initiative, and the simplicities of material life are matched with the complications of spiritual life.

Painter Luong Xuan Doan said, “Toan’s Earth by Fire has matured over two decades, and in his ceramic art pieces we have the highlights of traditional and contemporary ceramic art. The universe is changing as time passes by, but the twelve signs of the zodiac bring life’s destiny closer to the sacred religious beliefs through the beauty of meditation”.

I asked him about his plan for the year and he said, “In addition to the restoration of ancient ceramic works, I will hold several ceramic shows at home and abroad to promote the traditional ceramic art in my own way.”

By Thanh Tam

Theo ven.vn