Hindu artefacts unearthed in central Vietnam

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10 May 2007 (Thanh Nien News) – The first find of its kind, a stone linga and yoni have been found in central Vietnam. The Linga is associated with the Hindu god, Shiva and its symbolism includes the fountain of life and phallus. The Yoni symbolises the source of all existence and the female genitalia. Collectively, they represent unification of male and female. The Lingam-Yoni find in central Vietnam is not surprising considering the kingdom of Champa in the 9th century was Saivite, and Shiva-Linga were often the focus of worship in Saivite temples.

20070510 Thanh Nien NEws

Rare ancient object found in Vietnam central province

A stone statue of worship dating back to the ninth century was unearthed Thursday in Vietnam’s central province of Binh Thuan, with local authorities saying the find is the first of its kind in the area.

According to Nguyen Xuan Ly, director of the provincial museum, the statue is called Linga and Yoni – a divine worship object depicting the male sex and female genitalia united in a representation of the fountain of life.

Related Books:
The Art of Champa by J. Hubert
Hindu-Buddhist Art Of Vietnam: Treasures From Champa by E. Guillon

Binh Thuan to buy back 12 ancient cannons

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22 March 2007 (Viet Nam Net Bridge) – It may sound confusing: cannons are excavated from Binh Thuan province, the museum buys them in the open market and sells them back to the said province. It would seem that there is no automatic protection over archaeological discoveries – a case of finder’s keepers?

Viet Nam Net Bridge, Viet Nam Net Bridge 2007

Binh Thuan to buy back 12 ancient cannons

The HCM City-based Museum of History plans to sell to the southern province of Binh Thuan 12 of the 24 cannons from the Nguyen Dynasty unearthed in Binh Thuan in 2005.

Ancient royal edicts face risk of loss

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1 October 2006 (Viet Nam News) – A report on stolen sac-phong, royal honour-conferring edicts that date from the 14th century and also their digitisation as a means to preserve them.

Ancient royal edicts face risk of loss

Ancient sac phong are now still being kept under one of two conditions, according to their content. Sac phong chuc tuoc, the “human” edicts, which bestow titles upon noblemen and officials, or praise people who deserve well of the country, are normally the property of a family. The other kind, sac phong than, which certify and rank genies or patron saints worshipped in temples and communal houses, are considered the common property of a village community, so they are kept in temples.

The oldest sac phong date back to the 15th century, and are still preserved in the communal house in Diem Dien Township, in the northern province of Thai Binh’s Thai Thuî District.

Sac phong were made from a special type of paper, called giay sac, which was used only for the kings to write their edicts. The method for making the paper was passed down through the generations of a family in the ancient Nghia Do Village, which is now Ha NoiTu Liem District. The paper was made from valuable material, with the imperial symbols of the dragon and phoenix drawn in gold, silver and metal grain.

. . .

Recently, a group of historians and experts including those from the Viet Nam History Association, the Viet Nam Museum of Ethnology, and the National Library have rallied to protect the ancient sac phong, under the initiative and funding of the Sweden-Viet Nam Cultural Fund.

Huu Ngoc, who is also president of the fund, says the project can be implemented in one of two ways.

“First, we can hire experts to physically strengthen the documents and find ways to preserve them.” But Ngoc explains that each document would take about 10 days to complete and cost VND100,000 ($US6.25) to preserve, making this option virtually impossible given the large number of sac phong that exist in Viet Nam.

The other option is to protect the words and decorations of sac phong by taking photographs with digital cameras. All of the images would be saved on disc with archival information detailing the names of the sac phong and where they are kept. All the discs would be listed as administrative units and kept at the National Library.

Shipwreck exhibition in Vietnam

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24 August 2006 (Viet Nam News) – An ongoing exhibition featuring shipwreck finds off the waters of Vietnam in the Can Tho Museum.

Viet Nam News, 24 August 2006

Exhibition of shipwreck relics begins in Can Tho Museum

An exhibition featuring 400 ancient relics salvaged from five shipwrecks off the Viet Nam coast opened at the Can Tho Museum on Tuesday.

Most of them are porcelain and pottery made in China, Thailand, and Viet Nam between the 15th and 18th centuries and are part of more than 500,000 items found aboard ancient vessels which had sunk off the Cham Island (Quang Nam Province), Dam Island (Kien Giang Province), Cau Island (Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province), Binh Thuan and Ca Mau provinces.

Stone instrument turns up at unexpected place

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8 August 2006 (Viet Nam Net Bridge and Thanh Nien Daily) – The find of a stone instrument near the coast forces archaeologists to relook at their origins – they were previously only found in highland or mountain regions.

Thanh Nien News, 8 Aug 2006

Ancient musical instrument unearthed in Vietnam

A musical instrument made of stone, thought to be centuries old, has been discovered on a beach in south-central Vietnam.

The dan da (lithophone), which was in Binh Thuan province, possibly belongs to the Sa Huynh Culture, which existed between the second and early nineteenth centuries.

Viet Nam Net Bridge, 8 Aug 2006

Ancient instrument rewrites theory

According to experts from the museum, these finds are a Dan Da, a stone instrument made by ancient peoples in the neolithic era.

However, these were all found in highlands or mountain areas, and archaeologists had thought Dan Da were only made by ancient highland tribes. With recently discovery, the hypothesis must be reconsidered as Ham My is very close to the coast.

Related Books:
Uncovering Southeast Asia’s Past: Selected Papers from the 10th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists by E. A. Bacus, I. Glover and V. C. Pigott (Eds)
Early Civilizations of Southeast Asia by D. J. W. O’Reilly
Early Cultures of Mainland Southeast Asia