Embroidery work from Vietnam is a dying art having developed over hundreds of years and especially during the last 50 years of isolation. Known as "Tranh Theu" it has roots in the same traditions found in China where elaborate motifs are found on court robes and tapestries. In northern Vietnam embroidery evolved, among a small group of artists, to reproductions of paintings, photographs and other scenery in precise colors and duplicated to the last fine detail.

The uniqueness of Vietnamese embroidery by 59 years old Mr. Nguyen Huy Su from Ha Bac province is found in the use of overlapping and meshed silk threads to create subtle colors found in the original pattern. Su, who has been refining his art since age 15, trains a number of artists to draw the original on cotton, to lay out the basic design and fill in some of the detail leaving the finishing touches on complicated patterns for Su himself. Depending on the size and complexity of the pictures, a single embroidery can take from two months to one year to complete. While there are other embroidery artists in Vietnam, none approach the quality and detail of Su's work. Saigon embroideries are created in Da Lat and are typically less complex flower arrangements on black cotton, or other uncomplicated and cruder sceneries.

In 1965, Mr. Su became famous by creating a portrait of President Ho Chi Minh in embroidery. A picture so valued for its accuracy by President Ho that it hangs to this day in the presidential palace. No other embroidery artist in Vietnam has yet mastered the technique of creating realistic and accurate face and skin tones on pictures. For this reason, only Mr. Su creates the accurate reproductions of National Palace Museum paintings and embroideries provided by Cherry Hill Antiques.

Vietnam is perhaps the last place where embroidered scenes are found. Even in China the craft has disappeared as artisans moved to more lucrative professions. This is happening in Vietnam and suppliers predict that this kind of embroidery will be unavailable at any price in the near future.