Amateur collector shows off collection from the Red River

A feature story about an amateur collector of antiquities who has spent much of his retirement collecting artefacts from the banks of the Red River in Hanoi.

Nguyen Viet Hong, amatuer collector. Viet Nam News 20110620

Red River bank collector pieces history together
Viet Nam News, 20 June 2011

For decades, the image of an old man picking up broken pieces of ceramics on the sandy bank of the Red River has been a familiar sight for people in Ha Noi’s Gia Lam District. In that time, many have said they considered Nguyen Viet Hong as a “nerdy”man who had nothing to do but idle away his retirement.

It wasn’t until the Viet Nam Institute of Archaeology and the Vietnamese Government recognised the ceramic pieces he has collected as national legacies that people began to understand the value of his long and quiet work.

Knocking on Hong’s door just as he and his wife finished their final batch of pottery on a Friday afternoon we found ourselves almost dazed by hundreds of ceramic and porcelain pots, bowls, plates and vases.

Hong led us to the bustling Kim Thuong wharf on the Red River. He is quite familiar with the site because he has spent his afternoons here for years in search of ancient relics.


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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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