With Mid-Autumn Festival is approaching, the 15th day of the eighth lunar month falls on September 13, Nguyễn Thị Tuyến is busy making paper scholars.
She’s one of few artisans who still make the traditional toys for children.
She spends a lot of time carefully making small bamboo sticks and cutting the small costume for the toy scholar.
根據越南媒體Viet Nam News報導，紙博士（越南語：tiến sỹ giấy）象徵受過高等教育的人。紙博士身穿的是封建時代在地方及京師進行的科舉考試中得到取得好成績的考生才能穿的傳統頭飾及服裝。
The scholar, called tiến sỹ giấy in Vietnamese, is a symbol of people in advanced studies. The paper scholar wears a traditional hat and costume like those who did well in local and royal examinations in feudal times.
In the past, families displayed paper scholars during Mid-Autumn Festival parties to encourage children to study hard and get success in their future careers.
A normal small set, which always consists of a paper scholar with two servants, was displayed in families’ tray of toys, fruits and food for the children to eat and play with on the night of Mid-Autumn Festival.
The bigger sets were bought by hamlets or villages to display on the food trays of the collectives.
Tuyến said the face of the scholar is made of clay, is dried in the sun and is then painted.
“His body frame is made of bamboo,” she said. “The frame should be balanced so that his body can stand firmly. The joints are fixed with metal strings.”
After the frame is complete, she sticks papers on. The scholar is then covered with a bright, colourful paper costume.
“Now children are more interested in electronic devices, folk toys have become less and less popular,” Tuyến said.
“I still keep my family’s handicraft to continue the traditional culture,” she said.
Mid-Autumn Festival is an important event for Vietnamese people, when families reunite, parents treat their children, and grown-up children give presents to parents and elders in the family.
By Viet Nam News (ANN) and The China Post
Translated by Carol Kan