A couple kilometers north of the city center, we found the XQ Embroidery Village, a bizarre mashup of a gallery, factory, museum and theme park. While exploring the village, we also felt somewhat mashed-up. Were we supposed to be confused, amused, creeped out, or impressed? Because we were feeling all those things at the same time.
Occupying a set of three colonial-era buildings in the heart of Saigon, the Museum of Fine Arts is packed with ancient sculptures, classical paintings, and contemporary canvases. It’s all worth full attention, but we found ourselves moving too rapidly through the rooms, because there was simply so much to see.
The province of Tan Chau is famous across Vietnam for its naturally-colored black silk. We spent a day trying to find a place where we could watch it being made. Should be easy, right?
The art form most commonly associated with Vietnam is lacquer painting. While exploring District 3, we walked past the factory of a company called Tay Son, and were drawn like moths to its striking mosaic facade. When the security guy encouraged us to enter, we immediately accepted the invitation.
Water puppetry is an art form which has been entertaining Vietnamese audiences since the 11th century. The shows were originally performed in the country’s rice fields, but today are usually found in theaters. We went to Saigon’s most well-known venue, the Golden Dragon Theater, to check out one of the shows.