HA NOI — A book about the material civilisation of the Vietnamese people by painter and fine arts researcher Phan Cam Thuong has been available to readers in Ha Noi.
Entitled Van Minh Vat Chat Cua Nguoi Viet (Material Civilisation of Vietnamese People), the book is the product of 20 years of research and six years of writing. The completed book is 664 pages.
With 959 photos and 505 illustrations, the book features stories about several objects made and used by the Vietnamese people.
Humans have created a material world through objects and continue to shape this world. The material civilisation of objects plays a significant role in the human development process, according to the author.
To collect the necessary material for the book, Thuong conducted several field studies in different regions across the country. He travelled from the northern Hong (Red) River Delta, to the central and southern regions. He also visited China, Japan and the US for his research.
"Many countries pay significant attention to the role of the material civilisation in historical process, while we haven't. People give prominence to agricultural tools in Asian countries, while in the US, people appreciate the electric generator. It is evidence that Americans and Europeans tend to invent motorised machines while Asians have a closer attachment to manual tools," said the author.
According to fine arts critic Nguyen Quan, the Material Civilisation of Vietnamese People is a unique book. "A writing style mixing scientific judgement and artistic feeling, it is an interesting book that contains great value. The book is really worth reading."
Painter Le Thiet Cuong: "It is an important book because nothing similar has been published in Viet Nam. Several different historical periods of the country can be seen through the objects mentioned in the book."
Thuong devotes the book to the youth. "Through the book, they can learn about how their forbearers lived, thus understand Vietnamese culture."
The Material Civilisation of Vietnamese People costs VND165,000 (US$8) and is available at the Tri Thuc (Knowledge) Publishing House, 53 Nguyen Du Street, Ha Noi, and at the Phuong Nam bookstores nationwide. — VNS