HÀ NỘI — An exhibition of antiques representing the different civilisations of Việt Nam will be held at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg from May 17 to September 22.
A ceramic lamp of the Sa Huỳnh Culture dating from 2000BC will be displayed at the exhibition. — Photo courtesy of the National Museum of History
It is one of the activities to celebrate the friendship between Việt Nam and Russia and marks the Russian Year in Việt Nam and the Vietnamese Year in Russia.
The exhibition also celebrates President Hồ Chí Minh’s birthday (May 19).
With the theme Treasures of the Red River, the exhibition would include objects collected and stored at the Việt Nam National Museum of History and the Hải Phòng City Museum, according to curator Phan Tuấn Dũng.
Visitors will have a chance to understand different periods in the history of the Red River Delta, a region of the Indochinese Peninsula, with the art, traditions and way of life of Vietnamese people in the old days.
In ancient times, three cultures formed in today’s Việt Nam: the Đông Sơn culture in the north, Sa Huỳnh in the centre, and Đồng Nai in the south.
Đông Sơn (from 2500BC to first century AD) was found in the valleys of the Red, Mã and Cả rivers, and produced artefacts from stone, bronze, iron, clay, glass, wood and ivory.
“The most common are highly artistic cast bronze items that were characteristic of this culture: work tools, domestic utensils, weapons and musical instruments,” said Dũng.
The most noteworthy artefact representing Đông Sơn are bronze drums bearing depictions of rituals and processions, humans and animals, as well as geometrical patterns, he said.
“The drums were used as musical instruments in rituals and to communicate. Đông Sơn drums were also symbols of power.”
At the same time as the Đông Sơn culture, in the central part of Việt Nam the Sa Huỳnh culture (6000BC – second century AD) was developing.
Sa Huỳnh is known primarily for its funeral offerings, and remarkable objects including jewellery and ceramics have been found in tombs.
In the Mekong Delta, the Đồng Nai culture (dating back 2,500 years) is known for its iron and pottery objects.
The Óc Eo culture arose in the south-western part of the Mekong Delta from the first to the sixth centuries. Along with traditional everyday artefacts, these sites yielded fired pottery, seals and coins.
Dũng said this culture showed the exchange in culture and trade between Việt Nam and regional countries such as China, Thailand and India. Among the finds made at the sites were Hindu and Buddhist sculptures in wood, stone and bronze.
Alongside the exhibits, the State Hermitage Publishing House has prepared a scholarly illustrated catalogue for the exhibition with forewords by Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky, general director of the State Hermitage Museum, and Nguyễn Văn Cường, director of the Việt Nam National Museum of History.
They will provide more stories of the history and culture of Việt Nam.
Expert Dũng said the event would boost mutual understanding and co-operation between the two countries in general and Vietnamese museums and the Hermitage in particular. — VNS