“Tò he” toys are sculptured figurines form colored glutinous rice dough. Those little things makes Vietnamese children extremely exciting.
To create a “tò he” figurine, a crafts person needs a mixture of glutinous and ordinary rice powders that can be easily kneaded into edible shapes, plus bamboo sticks for the “tò he” and to use for graphics. The recipe for success in making “tò he” lies in the preparation for the dough. The craftsman first grinds rice into fine powder, then pours water into the powder and mixes it until he achieves a sticky lump. He places the lump in a pot of water, brings the water to a boil, and cooks the paste for an hour. When the lump rises to the water’s surface, dips, and rises again, the craftsman removes it from the pot. Then he applies seven basic colors: white, black, green, yellow, violet, pink, and red. Miraculously, the different colors never stain one another when he assembles the parts of a figurine. Those colors are made from food dyes that is used to replace colors made from trees or ashes. Read more: tours in Vietnam
In the old days, when comics and illustrated books had yet come into existence in Vietnam, “tò he” was made to depict different heroes and ordinary people of daily life, symbolic animals like dragon or phoenix or daily-viewed water buffalos, flowers and all beautiful things in fairy and history tales. Especially, in 1990s, when a Chinese series named “Journey to the West” was popular for not only children but also adults in Vietnam, crafts people usually kneaded Ton Ngo Khong – a character in the film, which is loved by almost all children at that time. Travel to Vietnam
As usual, “tò he” artisans had a set of tools so that in just one day they could go to several communal spots such as market, temples and especially local festivals where children often gather to play or are accompanied by their parents. Many generations of Vietnamese children have been overjoyed when their mothers return from market with a “to he”. Children can even eat “to he” after playing with them. “Tò he” is made simply, however, it is considered as a gift of love for any child in Vietnam.
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