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Paper Masks: Preserving an Ancient Craft
Hanoi, Vietnam
5.0

  • Hanoi things to do
  • Things to do in Hanoi
  • hanoi tours by locals
  • traditional toy in hanoi
  • hanoi traditional toy
  • toy making in hanoi
  • hanoi toy making
  • hanoi workshop
  • workshop in hanoi
  • Paper Masks: Preserving an Ancient Craft
  • Paper Masks: Preserving an Ancient Craft
  • Paper Masks: Preserving an Ancient Craft
  • Paper Masks: Preserving an Ancient Craft
  • Paper Masks: Preserving an Ancient Craft
  • Paper Masks: Preserving an Ancient Craft
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The traditional paper masks, as distinct and recognizable as the full moon during the Mid-Autumn festival, has for years been a favorite traditional toy among Vietnamese children. During the night of the festival, gleeful children parade around the neighborhood wearing colorful paper masks as they carry with them bobbing lanterns to illuminate the streets - a sort of trick or treat equivalent during Halloween. Families join in the celebration while the young ones bring life to the artfully crafted masks that are at once both colorful and representative of the festivities of the night.

The tradition of wearing paper masks is a cherished and endeared tradition among the locals. Entirely handmade and always lingering with the faint smell of paper and glue, the locals love the simplicity of this the tradition which dates back many centuries. Alas, it is now a dying art where modern toys are replacing this age old tradition. In this exclusive visit, you will have access to a special gem in the backstreets of Hanoi’s Old Quarters and make your own paper masks with the only remaining couple to still continue the tradition.

Note: The paper masks that you create will take a day or two to dry under the sun depending on the weather. While you will learn how to make one, the masks that you will eventually paint on and take home with you will be a ready made handmade mask that has already been dried. So what of your mask? Think about it, some child in Hanoi will wear your mask when it is eventually sold in the market. :)

A link to the exact pick up location and the detailed address will be sent to your account email id once the payment is complete.

The host recommends these preparations so that guests can have the best experience.

  • Dont wear clothes that you wouldn't want paint to accidentally drop on. :)
Listing Base Price - US$18.00

Choose your add-ons (All prices listed are in addition to base price.)

+ Private Class
+ Pick up service (one vehicle fits 3 person)
Reviews (3)
Katina
Katina Papulkas

Canada
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating
18 Sep 2017

Our family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids - 13 and 11) had a fun afternoon of making traditional autumn festival masks with a talented teacher Hoa. We learned about the festival and how paper mask making is a disappearing art so it was very special for us to work with Hoa and make paper mache masks in molds - some made by his grandfather! We then painted our masks and made a lion, tiger, rabbit and a character from Vietnamese literature. Overall, a fun afternoon of getting our hands dirty with paper mache and being creative. It was fun for all of us and we learned about a neat Vietnamese holiday too.

Harsh
Harsh J

Vietnam
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating
28 Aug 2017

I had a very good lesson with Mr Hoa for the paper mask making workshop with Backstreet Academy. I have a little brother back home for whom I wanted to take a gift at the end of my trip. I wanted it to be meaningful and something that was local and traditional. The paper masks was a perfect fit (if it turned out well), and indeed it did. Not only did I have a wonderful gift for my little brother, but had a wonderful experience. Especially since i was not expecting the experience to be truly a unique and local experience. We got to go to a very interesting part of the neighborhood that I was completely charmed by. Mr Hoa himself was prepared by the time I was taken there by the translator from backstreet and the arrangement of the workshop was well designed. It really seemed like a lot of thought had been put into creating this.

The host was lovely too. I was told that he was one of the last surviving craftsman to still make the traditional paper mask in Hanoi and even showed me several of the press covereage he had received over his career. It was endearing.

Thank you backstreet academy for a wonderful time and for giving me the opportunity to make a truly personalized gift

Kc Gurung
Kc Gurung G

Cambodia
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating
26 Jan 2015

I recently had the opportunity to try Backstreet Academy in Hanoi. I and my partner had some free time on our last day after a trip to Ha Long Bay and decided to give this a try since the reviews on Tripadvisor suggested it was an alternative way to experience the culture and the city. I did the Paper Mask course with an older couple who were our hosts in their house/workshop. Their house was located inside a neighborhood complex that one wouldnt normally venture into and it was as if a whole new world had opened up. This access really allowed us to see how the locals lived which I thought was interesting.

Once we settled, we soon got started with the class. The hosts were patient, and showed us the technique to cut and glue paper into the moulds that we seleted for our paper masks. It was interesting to know that traditional paper masks are now being replaced by mordern toy manufacturers and craftsmen like our hosts were a rare gem today. It was really relaxing to just sit there in their workshop, away from the noisy hanoi streets and make something personalized with your hands. It was also balming to the travel fatigue that had been stacking up since our trip in Dec.

Once the masks were completed, we had to detach them from the mould and let it dry. I couldnt take the mask I made becuase it needed at least a day or two to dry under the sun depending on the weather. So we were given a masks made by the host to pain upon which we could take home with us. Which was not bad.

It was a farily relaxed afternoon with Backstreet Academy. I wish I had more of such alternatives to see and would loved to spend more time in the backstreets and less time drinking bia hoi!

Your Booking Details

US$18.00 per paxDuration- 2 Hours Min-Max Guests: 1 - 5
Booking Time
PaxClick
1 Pax US$0
Service fee (7%)Click US$0
Discount Code
Total Booking Fees US$0
Booking Deposit due US$0
Balance due to host

(In cash on day of the booking at an exchange rate of USD 1 to VND 22000.00)

US$0

0

Profile
Host: Hoa Nguyen Van

In Hanoi, Nguyen Van Hoa and his wife Dang Huong Lan was once the epic...

More about the host
Reviews (3)
Katina
Katina Papulkas

Canada
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating
18 Sep 2017

Our family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids - 13 and 11) had a fun afternoon of making traditional autumn festival masks with a talented teacher Hoa. We learned about the festival and how paper mask making is a disappearing art so it was very special for us to work with Hoa and make paper mache masks in molds - some made by his grandfather! We then painted our masks and made a lion, tiger, rabbit and a character from Vietnamese literature. Overall, a fun afternoon of getting our hands dirty with paper mache and being creative. It was fun for all of us and we learned about a neat Vietnamese holiday too.

Harsh
Harsh J

Vietnam
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating
28 Aug 2017

I had a very good lesson with Mr Hoa for the paper mask making workshop with Backstreet Academy. I have a little brother back home for whom I wanted to take a gift at the end of my trip. I wanted it to be meaningful and something that was local and traditional. The paper masks was a perfect fit (if it turned out well), and indeed it did. Not only did I have a wonderful gift for my little brother, but had a wonderful experience. Especially since i was not expecting the experience to be truly a unique and local experience. We got to go to a very interesting part of the neighborhood that I was completely charmed by. Mr Hoa himself was prepared by the time I was taken there by the translator from backstreet and the arrangement of the workshop was well designed. It really seemed like a lot of thought had been put into creating this.

The host was lovely too. I was told that he was one of the last surviving craftsman to still make the traditional paper mask in Hanoi and even showed me several of the press covereage he had received over his career. It was endearing.

Thank you backstreet academy for a wonderful time and for giving me the opportunity to make a truly personalized gift

Kc Gurung
Kc Gurung G

Cambodia
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating
26 Jan 2015

I recently had the opportunity to try Backstreet Academy in Hanoi. I and my partner had some free time on our last day after a trip to Ha Long Bay and decided to give this a try since the reviews on Tripadvisor suggested it was an alternative way to experience the culture and the city. I did the Paper Mask course with an older couple who were our hosts in their house/workshop. Their house was located inside a neighborhood complex that one wouldnt normally venture into and it was as if a whole new world had opened up. This access really allowed us to see how the locals lived which I thought was interesting.

Once we settled, we soon got started with the class. The hosts were patient, and showed us the technique to cut and glue paper into the moulds that we seleted for our paper masks. It was interesting to know that traditional paper masks are now being replaced by mordern toy manufacturers and craftsmen like our hosts were a rare gem today. It was really relaxing to just sit there in their workshop, away from the noisy hanoi streets and make something personalized with your hands. It was also balming to the travel fatigue that had been stacking up since our trip in Dec.

Once the masks were completed, we had to detach them from the mould and let it dry. I couldnt take the mask I made becuase it needed at least a day or two to dry under the sun depending on the weather. So we were given a masks made by the host to pain upon which we could take home with us. Which was not bad.

It was a farily relaxed afternoon with Backstreet Academy. I wish I had more of such alternatives to see and would loved to spend more time in the backstreets and less time drinking bia hoi!

Amenities

kids friendly (Age: 8+)
Free parking on premises
Translator
Free parking on premises for motorbikes

Host Cancellation Policy

Standard: Any cancellation will result in the forfeit of the booking deposit.

Profile
Host: Hoa Nguyen Van

In Hanoi, Nguyen Van Hoa and his wife Dang Huong Lan was once the epic...

More about the host
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