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Ancient lamps light up museum space

Update: February, 02/2013 - 09:36

 

On display: Iron lampstands in the shape of a phoenix (left) and nine dragons (right) from the Nguyen Dynasty (19th-20th century), while a bronze lamp in the shape of a human figure (centre) dates from the Dong Son culture (2,500-2,000BC). — File Photos
HA NOI — (VNS) Vietnamese ancient lamps on display in Ha Noi at the Viet Nam National Museum of History provide an introduction to the historical significance of the lamp and demonstrations on how to use and make them.

In Viet Nam, the lamp has been made for thousands of years. It is not only used for daily life such as lighting, heating and cooking, but also for rites and religious activities – an important object in the worshipping space of the Vietnamese people.

The exhibition presents 50 objects, spanning 2,500 years up to the early 20th century. The lamp in a kneeling human shape (Dong Son culture, dating from 2,500 years ago) has been certified as one of Viet Nam's National Treasures.

Lamps displayed are categorised in different periods. Artefacts of Dong Son culture were mainly made from bronze and were shaped like humans and animals. During the 1st-10th centuries, lamps were made from bronze and pottery with designs influenced by Chinese culture.

Lamps dating from the 11st-20th centuries are various and sophisticated in materials and designs. Many lamps ordered for the royal court and temples have dates, places and name of producers, providing valuable historical data.

"The lamp is one of the most ancient human inventions. Thanks to the lamp people were gradually able to control fire, which was useful both in terms of daily life and for traditional ceremonies, said Nguyen Van Cuong, director of the museum.

"The exhibition will provide visitors a panoramic view of designs, techniques and materials of Vietnamese lamps in different periods," he said. Other treasures stored at the museum include Dong Son culture's Ngoc Lu and Hoang Ha bronze drums discovered in the northern province of Ha Nam and outskirts of Ha Noi, respectively; Dao Thinh bronze jar (Dong Son culture) carrying a depiction of four couples embracing in the act of love; a statue of a panpipe-playing couple piggybacking; Mon Ha Sanh An, the only known bronze royal seal of the Tran Dynasty (the 14th century); a pottery jar with swan patterns dating from 15th-16th centuries; a Canh Thinh bronze drum from 1800, under the Tay Son Dynasty; the original version of Duong Kach Menh (Revolution Road) and Prison Diary by Nguyen Ai Quoc (other name of late president Ho Chi Minh); and his hand-written draft of Appeal for National Resistance of December 19, 1946.

The exhibition will run until the end of May at the museum at 1 Pham Ngu Lao Street, Ha Noi.

On the same day, the museum received valuable objects proving Viet Nam's sovereignty over the Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos which were donated by collector Tran Manh Tuan from the northern province of Nam Dinh. — VNS

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