April 1964: Trịnh Kim Vinh and the Female Guerrilla

In 1964, Trịnh Kim Vinh began her diploma course at the Vietnam Fine Arts College. During that time, Vinh made numerous field trips into the countryside around Hanoi, often encountering People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) guerrillas.

Figure 1: Trịnh Kim Vinh, 1964, “Nữ du kích (Female Guerrilla).” Watercolour on machine-made paper.

Vinh’s depiction of a female guerrilla soldier (fig. 1) reinforces the fact that both men a and woman fought for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) during the Second Indochina War. Again, wearing simple clothes and without shoes, this portrait expresses exactly the DRV’s policy of promoting austerity and the communist ideals of the working class.

The rifle the female guerrilla holds is worth mentioning. The CKC (Cyrillic script for its widely known name of SKS) was a Soviet semi-automatic carbine, using the same 7.62mm rounds as the AK-47. It was ubiquitous in Vietnam during the Second Indochina War. SKS was an abbreviation of the Russian for “Simonov Self-Loading Carbine”. They were manufactured in the Soviet Union, China and North Korea, though many were produced with non-standard markings to conceal their exact provenance.

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