|Full of praise: A worshipping object of Cham era found at My Son Sanctuary is on display at the exhibition featuring World Heritages Sites of Indochinese countries. — VNS Photo
DA NANG (VNS)— Photos of Southeast Asia's UNESCO World Heritage Sites are put on display at Da Nang City's Museum of Cham Sculpture.
The exhibition, Our Common Heritage: Exploring the World Heritage Sites of Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam, results from a joint UNESCO project to revitalise World Heritage Site museums so that people can better understand these cultural relics.
The project involves nine site museums in connection to six World Heritage sites: Angkor Wat, Preah Vihear, Vat Phou, My Son Santuary, Ho Citadel and Thang Long Citadel. Last month, a similar exhibition took place at the Ho Citadel in the central province of Thanh Hoa.
Through the two sections titled Nature and Myth and Trade and Exchange, the exhibition highlights the sites' interaction with nature, as well as indicating historical and cultural traits shared between the three neighbouring nations.
On display are photos, images and artefacts about the cultures, peoples, histories, and landscapes of the three countries.
"This panel and photo exposition is the result of tireless efforts and close collaboration among colleagues in the nine institutions that are connected to six World Heritage Sites in Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam in the past year," Katherine Muller-Marin, representative of UNESCO in Viet Nam, said at the inauguration ceremony on Friday.
"I believe this initiative has been a great opportunity for the World Heritage Sites of the three countries to rediscover their shared histories and identify concrete and harmonised ways to present them to the world. This process has helped increase regional ownership of historical knowledge and deepen interpretations of regional heritage.
"The most important output of this project, in my opinion, is that it has helped strengthen the awareness on the concept of a site museum, which plays a significant role in interpreting and presenting the authentic values and meanings of World Heritage sites to the wide public and enhancing their visibility."
UNESCO is also supporting the museum to develop an education programme entitled What is Your Holy Animal? throughout 2013, open free of charge to all students from local primary and secondary schools.
"This programme will provide a great opportunity for adults and children, local and visitors, to explore and enjoy Cham sculptures of mythical animals and their roles in Champa history and culture, while at the same time improving their artistic, observational and critical thinking skills and enhancing their love for arts and culture."
The Cham Sculpture Museum features valuable collections from the Champa Kingdom (the 7th century)‘s heritage as well as a permanent gallery of artefacts from My Son Sanctuary.
"For this very reason, the museum, although quite far away from the My Son World Heritage site, was included in this common exhibit," Muller-Marin said.
"The museum is essential for visitors to understand the values of this World Heritage and should be promoted jointly with the site whenever possible."
The exhibition will run until the end of March, next year, at the Cham Sculpture Museum, 2, September 2 Street, Da Nang City. Along with several other events, it marks the 40th year of the World Heritage Convention (1972-2012).
The same exhibition opened at the My Son Sanctuary in the central province of Quang Nam and will run until March 29 next year, after which the exhibits will be given to the My Son Sanctuary. — VNS