Word into Art, £16.99
Height: 240.000 mm
Width: 345.000 mm
Purchased with the Brooke Sewell Permanent Fund
Asia OA 1999.10-4.02
Quang Tho, a charcoal drawing
Vietnam, dated 1967
A soldier playing the trung
A solitary soldier is portrayed playing a trung in the forest, suspended at one end from a tree. The trung, a traditional Vietnamese musical instrument, is made from lengths of bamboo and is similar to a xylophone.
The caption translates: 'Playing the trung at Kontum'. Kon Tum is in a region in the Central Highlands of Vietnam inhabited primarily by ethnic minority groups, including the Bahnar, Jarai, Rengao and Sedeng. In 1972, five years after this image was made, Kon Tum was devastated in a major battle of the American-Vietnam War (1965-75).
Quang Tho (1929-2001) enlisted in the army in 1945 to fight against the French and began to record events through his drawings. In 1955 he was sent by the army to the Fine Arts College, Hanoi, graduating in 1963. From 1963 to 1975 he continued to serve with the army during the war against America, achieving the rank of colonel. He served in some of the most dangerous places, often drawing while he was actually under fire or being bombed.
J. Harrison-Hall, Vietnam Behind the Lines: Imag (London, British Museum Press, 2002)