|Each artefact from the Hương River for Dr Thái Kim Lan has a cultural and historical trait. Photo Phan Thanh Hải|
A museum of ancient pottery will open at the end of this year in the central province of Thừa Thiên Huế. The museum will be filled with pieces collected by Vietnamese-born German Thái Kim Lan.
Over the past 30 years, Lan, Ph.D, has gone out of her way to collect more than 7,000 artefacts fished out of the Hương (Perfume) River, with the dream of setting up a museum to display the items.
“These artefacts reflect the history of the land," said Lan. "They will tell stories enabling us to better understand the cultural and historical value of the land.”
The Hương River Museum is being set up at Lan's ancestral temple on Nguyễn Phúc Nguyên Street, Hương Long Ward.
Lan had the idea for the museum three years ago. She decided to set up the museum at the ancestral temple, turning this place into a cultural space that tells the story of the Hương River.
"Everyone will contemplate the Hương River first, then go inside to view the artefacts. They will understand and cherish the culture and history of the river,” she said.
Over 30 years of collecting items from the water, she said that there isn't a river with such a dense layer of sediment.
There is evidence that some of the artefacts were from pre-historic times to the Champa period and Đại Việt culture onwards.
"All the artefacts have been researched," said Dr Nguyễn Anh Thư, an archaeologist from the Hà Nội University of Culture's Cultural Heritage Faculty. She was invited to assess and classify the items.
"The thing to do is to select and display the artefacts so that visitors can visualise each stage of the Hương River."
The artefacts will be divided into four groups of Tiền Sa Huỳnh - Sa Huỳnh; Champa, Đại Việt and foreign pottery.
"I think with such a display it reflects the history of ancient capital Huế,” said Thư.
That collection also contains foreign ceramics showing that trade was thriving and the demand for imported ceramics for Huế's aristocracy was enormous, according to Thư.
|Dr Thái Kim Lan's ancestral temple is set up to become a museum. Photo Phan Thanh Hải|
Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee Phan Ngọc Thọ said that he knew a lot of people dedicated to researching antiquities of the Hương River including Lan.
When learning she wanted to build the Hương River Museum, he was very supportive and hoped that the opening of the museum would create a cultural symbol for Huế.
“I believe that together with other museums, the Hương River Museum will be a lively destination in Huế," said Chairman Thọ.
"In the process, the local authorities will support and enable this museum to become an attraction and a site to publicise Huế.”
Lan and Thư are planning to compile a catalogue in different languages to introduce and promote the museum. They expect to digitalise the museum in the future. VNS