THỪA THIÊN-HUẾ — Việt Nam’s imperial capital Huế City is struggling to find a proper location to erect the statue of the ‘Greeting Man,’ a present offered to the locality from a sister city in South Korea.
The 6 metre naked statue was offered to Huế during a visit by Namyangju City’s Mayor Cho Kwang-han to the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế, which includes Huế, late last year as a present to celebrate the newly-affirmed friendship between the two cities.
Once Huế agrees to receive the statue, the South Korean city will ship it to Việt Nam.
The Korean side recommended three places in the city for the giant statue. They are a plot in front of the royal citadel, a site in Đông Ba Market, or in a park on the Hương (Perfume) River’s northern bank and opposite the city’s Cultural Centre.
While many public agencies have agreed that Huế should accept the statue, opinion is split researchers and locals, due to the city’s reputation for preserving Vietnamese culture, including decent clothing style.
An artist in the Faculty of Applied Art of Huế University of Arts said the statue was not prominent artistically and had no relation to Vietnamese and Huế culture and should not be displayed in the city.
Researcher Trần Đình Hằng, director of the Việt Nam Culture and Arts Study Institute in Huế, suggested reconsidering receiving the statue. Hằng said once the reception was made, the statue should be placed in a newly-developed urban area, away from the old city and areas locals consider as their cultural legacy.
Another researcher, Nguyễn Đắc Xuân, said the size of that statue would spoil the view and it would be hard to place lower statues in the future in the same area. He suggested it be placed somewhere related to South Korea in the city.
According to Nguyễn Văn Thành, the municipal People’s Committee Chairman, the statue is meaningful to the city and friendship between the two localities as it depicts the bowing culture of South Korea.
City authorities preferred placing it on the southern bank of the Hương River, adjacent to an end of the footbridge built on the water surface and running along the bank. The bridge is a construction work built on the river using Korea International Cooperation Agency funds.
The province People’s Committee sent the proposal to local Party’s Committee and the Party Committee will decide the placement.
Some online said the statue should be part of Thuận An Beach, which is 10km from the city, as it is naked and suitable for a swimming view.
The ‘Greeting man’ statue features a naked, blue man bowing and was created by South Korean sculptor Yoo Young-ho to represent peace, reconciliation, and communication. The artist hopes to put 1,000 such statues up across the world in places where the scars of war remain, including Viet Nam. VNS