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Thousands of Nghe An artefacts at risk

Update: November, 04/2015 - 08:10

Tens of thousands of antiques and items of great cultural and historical value at Nghe An Museum are at risk of damage due to the lack of appropriate preservation efforts. — Photo dantri.com.vn

NGHE AN (VNS) — Tens of thousands of antiques and items of great cultural and historical value at Nghe An Museum are at risk of damage due to the lack of appropriate preservation efforts.

The Nghe An Museum in this central province holds more than 25,000 antiques, including many rare, valuable items such as bronze drums, knives and production tools which were excavated at the Vac Village archaeological site in the province.

Many antiques excavated at the Vac Village site date back to the Dong Son culture (700-100 BC). They are made of various materials, including iron, ceramic, stone, glass and wood, but most are made of bronze.

Most of these antiques are being stored in the museum's warehouse instead of being displayed or preserved appropriately.

Head of the museum's research, inventory and preservation office Nguyen Thi Mai told Dan Tri online newspaper that these antiques could suffer some damage in the near future.

Under current standards, these antiques should be preserved in a glass sideboard and kept in rooms equipped with air conditioners and dehumidifiers. However, the museum did not have enough of this basic equipment, and the existing equipment was damaged or outdated, she said.

Many bronze drums dating back 2,500 years had been left on a wooden shelf in a tiny room with just one dehumidifier, she said.

These bronze drums had oxidised due to the lack of preservation equipment and were partially damaged during excavation. Further damage would reduce their value even more, she added.

Many other antiques dating back to the Dong Son culture also faced the same fate, she said, adding that utensils such as bronze ladles and weapons were being stored in drawers, while tens of antiques from the old embroidery and textile handicrafts of Nghe An were piled up in a corner of the museum.

She stressed that unfavourable weather conditions together with inadequate preservation efforts had put these antiques at high risk of damage.

Meanwhile, a project to build a new facility at the museum, worth VND44.2 billion (US$1.97 million), to display and preserve these antiques was approved by the provincial People's Committee five years ago, but it has not yet been finished, acting director of the museum Nguyen Duc Kiem said.

The project was delayed by a lack of funds, he said, adding that meanwhile valuable antiques placed in storehouses had already started to show signs of degradation.

The provincial cultural, sports and tourism sector has also not yet found a feasible solution to this problem.

Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Thi Quynh Anh told Nghe An Television that the department would urge the provincial authorities to create a master plan to mobilise capital from different sources that could be used to help protect antiques at the museum and fulfill the goal of turning the museum into one of the province's most popular tourist destinations. — VNS



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