Jürgen Horn and Mike Powell are in Saigon For 91 Days. They got to take a peek at the Tay Son lacquer factory, which turned out to be more of an artist's studio than what we normally think of as a factory. They were tickled to see how those shiny, art-covered furniture pieces are made.
Lacquerwork has a long history in Vietnam, where it’s known as Sơn Mài. For centuries, it was purely decorative, used mainly to preserve wooden furniture from the tropic heat. But in the 1930s, a new generation of Vietnamese artists began to fuse French influences into their lacquer works. And since there’s nothing the West loves better than celebrating its own influence, lacquerware was soon being hailed as a newly-discovered Oriental style, and displayed at exhibitions around the world.
At For 91 Days, you get pictures of the factory tour, a gallery of artworks, and a video. Mike and Jürgen are getting ready to leave Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City. Where will they go next?