One man’s obsession is another man’s museum

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08 October 2007 (Viet Nam News [Link no longer active]) – I wonder what the editor was thinking when he wrote the headline to the story. But yes, it almost seems as if the director of the Hoang Long Museum as a crazy-obsessed dude with a knack of spending every last cent in acquiring artefacts.

Crazy guy digs up stuff, founds museum [Link no longer active]
by Dieu Thuy

“The museum will belong to society.”
That is the desire of Hoang Van Thong, director of the Hoang Long Museum in Thanh Hoa, one of three private museums in Viet Nam.

Established on November 31, 2006 in his hometown, the museum was considered the eccentric brainchild of an otherwise normal engineer. He was someone who spent all his days, efforts and desires acquiring each and every valuable thing in the museum, to the point of leading his family and relatives to believe that he might be losing his mind.

“I was brought into this profession by chance. I remember when I came to Dong Thinh District for a project at Thanh Hoa Youth Union. We discovered lots of ceramic dishes and bowls with zig-zag patterns on them buried where we were clearing land. I became afraid of them, knowing they were ancient artifacts with spiritual value.

“And I knew that if I didn’t bring them home, they would be stolen or destroyed by the construction,” Thong said.

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Collectors showcase Vietnamese antiquities in exhibition

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08 June 2007 (VietNam Net Bridge) – 20 collectors of Vietnamese antiquities showcase the best and oldest in an exhibition in Hue City for the Traditional Craft Festival. It is interesting to note that the aim of this exhibition is to provide inspiration for craft makers to produce antique-style souvenirs!

20070608 VietNam Net Bridge

Antiquarians to descend upon Hue

For the first time, hundreds of antiques made of materials ranging from wood to gold owned by 20 collectors nationwide will be exhibited at the 2007 Hue Traditional Craft Festival that starts today, June 8.

Other collectors will come to the festival with more than 30 antiques dating from the Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam’s last dynasty. Thanh Hoa province will contribute the most to the festival with nearly 200 antiques, more than 100 of which date back to the Dong Son period.

According to the organisation committee, of the collectors to participate in the upcoming festival, only collector Hoang Van Thong from Thanh Hoa has established his own private antique museum. Others have exhibited their collections at many places, but this will be their first participation in a bronze, wooden and gold antique exhibition in a festival.

Read more about the Hue 2007 Traditional Craft Festival.

For books about Vietnamese antiquities, you might want to read:
Art & Archaeology of Fu Nan by J. C. Khoo
The Art of Champa by J. Hubert
Vietnamese Ceramics: A Separate Tradition by J. Stevensen, J. Guy and L. A. Cort

First private museum opens in Vietnam

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21 September 2006 (Vietnam Net Bridge) – First private museum showcasing artefacts from ancient Vietnam is opened.

First private museum opens

The Hoang Long Artifacts Museum in the central province of Thanh Hoa is owned by Hoang Van Thong, who has zoned off 500 sq.m of his own land to establish the first ever private museum in Vietnam. The exhibits range from earthenware from the Dong Son culture in the Bronze Age (from 1000 to 1 BC) and farming tools, weapons, household utensils and personal decorations and antique ceramics from the Ly, Tran and Le dynasties from the late 10th century to the late 18th century.

Related Books:
Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure in Southeast Asia by T. Wells