Biggest Exhibition on Vietnam to be held in Europe

Ha Noi, Nov. 11 (VNA) -- The Museum of Ethnology and the Embassy of Austria are preparing for a comprehensive exhibition on Viet Nam to be held in some European countries in 2002.

Christian Schickgruber, who is in charge of the Southeast Asian and Himalaya region of the Austrian Museum of Ethnology, stressed that he and his colleagues in Austria wanted to introduce Viet Nam's comprehensive culture and its 4,000-year history to the European public, who now know about Viet Nam only through its wars.

Christian Schickgruber is now busy collecting exhibits from a number of museums in various parts of Viet Nam and working with Vietnamese colleagues on possible topics for the exhibits. He told Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper that European people's understanding about Viet Nam was very modest and mostly centred on the wars. He and his colleagues are making efforts to portray Viet Nam's correct image through wide-ranging display from the nation's first kings - the Hungs - to the ordinary Vietnamese and their daily life at present. It will also range from people of the majority group in urban areas and deltas to ethnic minorities in mountainous areas.

This effort is expected to provide a good opportunity for the Vietnamese tourist industry to expand its market in Europe as a large number of people choose their tourist destinations through museum exhibits, Christian said. He added that the exhibition will open first in Vienna, Austria, for six months, and is then likely to move to Paris and Germany, and possibly to Houston, the United States.

The exhibits will not be arranged in a routine fashion but in a way that may help visitors recognise a close connection between the spritual culture, the living environment and the political development of Viet Nam. Films on Vietnamese countryside and cities will be shown on wide screens or the Internet. Visitors may be given the chance to talk with Vietnamese artisans and painters. Four life-size shops reminiscent of those popular in Ha Noi's old quarter will be built at the museum to make a first strong impression on visitors.

Bicycles with bamboo buckets on the either side, popular during the wartime, will be displayed alongside motorcycles and cyclos loaded with porcelain and colourful plastic products. Part of the exhibition will feature national heroes and leaders who Christian said made great contributions to the unique history of Viet Nam, the only nation in the world which did not bend down before Mongolia and China, powers of the historical time, and France and the US of the modern world.

Christian highlighed the relics of President Ho Chi Minh, which he said he believed would attract much interest from visitors.

He said that he planned to display 200 objects dating back to the Hung Kings time, including bronze drums. The display will also feature some belongings of the late President Ho Chi Minh such as his typewriter. Christian said it would be wonderful if he could borrow objects from pagodas and temples for the exhibition, some national assets or monks' daily necessities.

Christian said he understood it's not normal in Viet Nam to borrow such things. But he assured that these pieces would be photographed, catalogued in detailed dossiers and guaranteed by an international insurance company from the time he and his colleagues first lay hands on them until they are returned safely.--