Ancient Vietnam exhibition opens in the US
  • | | February 02, 2010 04:00 PM

An exhibition themed “Arts of Ancient Vietnam: From River Plain to Open Sea” opened at the Asia Society in New York on February 1.

On display are more than 110 artifacts, dated from the first millennium BC to the 17th century AD, on loan from 10 leading Vietnamese museums.

In the first section are items belonging to the Dong Son-Sa Huynh civilizations (first millennium BC to the 2nd century AD). This is considered to be Vietnam’s first golden era, with the Dong Son civilization in the northern region and Sa Huynh civilization in the central region.

The highlights of this section are bronze drums, bells, jewellery and tools of the Dong Son civilization and large jars, jewellery and weapons of the Sa Huynh people.

The second section introduces artefacts from the Mekong River Delta from the first to the fifth century AD. This was the Phu Nam civilization, with items from Oc Eo, one of the busiest cities on the trade route between the Orient and the West.

The third section showcases artefacts from the fifth to the fifteenth century AD sculpture, porcelain and metal tools of the Cham people.

The last section displays porcelains and introduces trade activities in the ancient city of Hoi An from the 16th to the 18th century AD.

Between now and May, when the exhibition closes, the Asian Society will organise numerous events relating to Vietnamese society and culture.

Addressing the exhibition’s opening ceremony, Melissa Chiu, Museum Director of the Asian Society, said Americans usually think of the US War in Vietnam when thinking about the country. The exhibition will introduce Americans to another aspect of Vietnamese culture.

The Chairwoman of the Asian Society in New York, Vishakha Desai, said that her Society has actively engaged in promoting Vietnamese culture to the US. She and other Society officials came to Vietnam before the US normalized its relations with Vietnam to seek an opportunity to organise the exhibition.

Vu Quoc Hien, Deputy Director of the Vietnam History Museum, said that the artefacts displayed at the exhibition show how much the Dong Son, Sa Huynh and Oc Eo civilizations were affected by foreign culture.

Bui The Giang, Ambassador and Deputy Head of the Representative Delegation of Vietnam to the United Nations, says the exhibition is all the more timely as Vietnam has just concluded its term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and is now assuming ASEAN chair. He believes the exhibition will strengthen mutual understanding between the US and Vietnam.