Vietnam's antiques dilemma

This article in the Vietnamese press highlights a vulnerability in the country’s legislation to pursue Vietnamese antiquities that are auctioned abroad.

Retrieving local antiques from abroad is impossible
Vietnam Net Bridge, 24 May 2011

Tran Duc Anh Son, former director of the Hue Imperial Court Antique Museum, says for now, it’s impossible for Vietnamese museums to buy back valuable local antiques that are being traded abroad.

Son brought this issue to public attention earlier this month when he wrote an article to Tuoi Tre alerting the local antique circle that a painting collection about Nguyen Dynasty worshipping rituals was being auctioned by a publisher, Eric Kline Books, in the US.

After the article was published, the Hue Imperial Court Heritage Preservation Center contacted Eric Kline Books only to learn that the collection had been sold and changed hands twice.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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