Four important careers of the human (Vietnamese: Tứ dân)

Scroll painting: Teaching (Vietnamese: Độc)

Southeast Asian Collection

Accession Nr.: 59.85.1
Type: woodblock print; hanging scroll
Date of production:
Place of production:
Materials/Techniques: paper, woodblock printing, hand coloured, mounted as hanging scroll
Dimensions: height: 131 cm
width: 42. 3 cm
In the foreground of the scroll image, under pagodas lined with coniferous trees, diligent education takes place. We can discover sheets of paper with written text in the hands of the participants. Blue mountains appear in the background.

Tứ bình is a 16th-century Vietnamese folk painting form that arranges four images with a common theme into a single series. Made in the Hàng Trống workshop in Hanoi, these pictures were usually made for the Tết, or Vietnamese New Year, similar to Đông Hồ prints, and were very popular with the population. The themes of the quartets all revolve around different states of things and change, such as the four seasons, the ages, four female musicians with different instruments, or the four classical careers of the human shown here.