The Vietnamese folksongs are rich in forms and melodies of regions across the country, ranging from ngam tho (reciting poems), hat ru (lullaby), ho (chanty) to hat quan ho, trong quan, xoan, dum, vi dam, ca Hue, bai choi, ly. Apart from this, there are also other forms like hat xam, chau van, and ca tru.
Traditional performing arts include cheo and tuong. Water-puppet shows are also a special traditional art that was ignited in the Ly dynasty. At the start of the 20th century, cai luong (reformed theatre) appeared in Cochinchina with melodies of vong co.
The Vietnamese acoustic arts generally have symbolic, expressive and emotional features. Traditional stage relates closely to the audience and is a combination of music and dance forms. The Vietnamese dance has few strong and tough actions, but contains many smooth and curling features with closed feet and a lot of arm-dancing actions.
In Vietnam, the arts of sculpturing on stone, copper and baked clay came into existence very early, dating back to the 10,000 B.C. Later, enameled ceramics, wooden statues, shell-encrusted pictures, lacquers, silk-made pictures and paper-made pictures all attained high degree of artistic development. The Vietnamese plastic arts focus on expressing innermost feelings with simplified forms uses many methods of stylization and emphasis.
There have been 2014 cultural and historical relics have been recognized by the State and other 2 relics, namely, the Old Capital of Hue and the Ha Long Bay, have gained international recognition as the world heritage site. The remaining ancient architectures are mostly pagodas and temples of the Ly-Tran dynasties, palaces and stelae of the Le dynasty, the 18th century’s community houses, citadels and tombs of the Nguyen dynasty and Cham towers.
In the 20th century, in contact with the Western culture, especially after the national independence, many new categories of arts like plays, photography, cinemas, and modern art had taken shape and developed strongly, obtaining huge achievements with the contents reflecting the social and revolutionary realities. Up to 1997, there have been 44 people operating in cultural and artistic fields honored with the Ho Chi Minh Award, 130 others conferred with People’s Artist Honor, and 1011 people awarded with the Excellent Artist Honor. At the start of 1997, there were 191 professional artistic organizations and 26 film studios (including central and local ones). There have been 28 movies, 49 scientific and documentary films receiving international motion picture awards in many countries.
The traditional and national culture in the time of industrialization and modernization is facing tough challenges posed by the market economy as well as the tendency of globalization. Some cultural and artistic branches have been seeking for renovation. The preservation and development of the national culture, the selection of the traditional values and the construction of the new ones have turned the most important than any time in history. The traditional cultural values should be preserved but should be also enriched by the advanced cultural values of the mankind.