The Editors: Thanh Den grave was excavated “extinguish fire” on October 10th 2009. There are many burial things in the grave, the wooden objects are the most interested: the coffin in boat shaped, the wooden outside covering of coffin and about 20 lacquered wood works what have cultural, historical values. Hai Phong Museum conserved initially, but still have many problems set up for conservation task, then the former lessons paid a heavy price. .
The Editors: Thanh Den grave was excavated “extinguish fire” on October 10th 2009. There are many burial things in the grave, the wooden objects are the most interested: the coffin in boat shaped, the wooden outside covering of coffin and about 20 lacquered wood works what have cultural, historical values. Hai Phong Museum conserved initially, but still have many problems set up for conservation task, then the former lessons paid a heavy price.
1- The lacquered wood work appeared in Vietnam about 2400 years ago. They are artifacts in Viet Khe grave (Hai Phong City). That discovery proved Vietnam is one of centers of lacquered work industry and the lacquered wood artifacts in Viet Khe grave always was exploited as a persuasive evidence, although it has little vestige. After the Viet Khe grave, series of boat shaped graves, such as Duong Du (Hai Phong City), Chau Can, Cham Long, Xuan La…etc (Ha Tay province), Chau Son (Ha Nam province) and many others different graves, where found out many beautiful lacquered works, reflect a brilliant achievement of Viet lacquered work industry, show the skill of artisan from up to now about 2000 years ago. An achievement not only make us surprise but also admired by the world. However, from up to now, there is only the tool for making lacquered work in Duong Du grave and lacquered wood artifacts in Viet Khe grave are frail, and all seem disappear by the conservation technology, investment expenditure in few tens years ago is not enough, make them contractive, dry as cucurbit cover, so they couldn’t be used to research or display. That loss is criticized by the press, but we are powerless.
2- Recently, the lacquered work experts of Japan, Korea, with many region projects especially concentrated on these objects, and Vietnam is a special point where experts pay much attention. They come and study on the appearance of Vietnamese lacquered work, Vietnamese traditional and mordern lacquer industry…etc to help the development orientation of a strong traditional handicraft of our country. However, they are disappointed and bored, because of the object document is very little, while the fact is not so that, if we are more drastic and stronger, invest technology and money better for the conservation technology on these faint and sensitive artifacts early. Anyway, they still regard Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese lacquered work are value-boards can not reverse. A Korean museum selected, and took a lacquered work utensils discovered in Duong Du grave (Hai Phong City), dated 2000 years to display at their country last year, as a declaration of recognizing Hai Phong in particular and Vietnam in general is a center manufacture lacquered work early in Asia. That is a great honor, a pride if Duong Du lacquered work utensil is conserved sucessfully 40 years ago what is a representation.
The lacquered wooden tray in Thanh Den grave
3- Now, with 20 artifacts in Thanh Den grave, with many strange ones, Viet familiar and very interested specimens, it can be saved if we have the optimal conserve policy and progress. Hai Phong Museum soak wooden statues and trays, dish…etc in water and change everyday, then build the tank in order to delay coffin wood and the outside covering of coffin is timely, is a right method. However, have to invest more money, effort to keep intact the shape, wipe out the alum soak into the objects with 2000 years old. Then, have to invite the experts who bring out the advice, found the progress, create the suitable solution, environments for each frequency. This is a science, which need to invest enough money, if not, we are in the situation “To hit the middle of the snake”. Money is lost and object is also disappear.
The lacquered wooden dish in Thanh Den grave
4- We are very emotional when look at Thanh Den lacquered work utensil. Emotion about the effort of Hai Phong archaeologists, excavated the grave with relative full of information, in the situation of building construction. Emotion about the plentiful souvenir with the strange antiquities, contemplate at the first time. Emotion about complex of lacquered work in Thuy Nguyen, maybe it will be saving document prove for a center manufacture early lacquered work in Vietnam. Emotion about a Viet familiar burial thing, with the different burial method in the wooden outside covering of coffin grave complex in kennel shaped of boat shaped coffin of Vietnam…etc. Those emotions make us to write this confidential things, hope the managers think, invest actively in order to save this rare collection.
PHAM QUOC QUAN – NGUYEN DINH CHIEN