Masks

Found hanging in shops throughout the narrow winding lanes of Hanoi's Old Quarter, these faces painted on woven round bamboo trays evoke the characters in Vietnam's traditional theatre, cheo. Each of the masks is painted in the theatrical makeup style and is meant to represent a single emotion. Embrace your inner drama queen and buy a mask for every day of the week.

Traditional Vietnamese theatre masks are made of lacquered materials such as bamboo and coconut. Audiences in the know are able to recognise a character's traits simply by the colour and style of the worn mask. White is reserved for females or educated urban males; a red mask indicates a male character of military persuasion; and kings are represented with dark red colours and stylised eyebrows that evoke fierce dragons. When in Hanoi be sure to source a souvenir mask from one of the many shops in the Old Quarter.

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