30/12/2015 19:53 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Sacred Animals in Vietnamese Culture

On November 28, 2015 the Vietnam National Museum of History introduced to the public the newly opened exhibition themed “Vietnamese Sacred Animals”.
In Vietnamese culture, sacred animals are those originating from legends or are created and used as cultural symbols to deliver ideas and belief in their psyche and religions.
 

The ribbon cutting ceremony to open the exhibition “Vietnamese sacred animals”
at the Vietnam National Museum of History. 



The exhibition provides viewers with intriguing information
about the origins and roles of sacred animals in Vietnamese lives.



It attracts much attention from foreign visitors.

Sacred animals have many types. Some are created by Vietnamese, some are formed through interactions with foreign cultures. Each sacred animal presents its own natures that are suitable with traditional culture and the characteristics of the historical periods when it was formed and developed.

The exhibition showcases more than 100 exemplary artefacts classified into 27 categories now on display at the Vietnam National Museum of History. Exhibits include precious ones such as totems of the Dong Son civilisation like dragons, unicorns, longma (literally dragon horse - a winged horse with dragon scales), elephants, and 12 animal designations. 

The exhibition, “Vietnamese sacred animals”, is aimed at helping the public discover and learn more about the diversity and uniqueness of Vietnamese sacred animals as well as their development stages, figure characteristics, artistic styles, usage and cultural significance. From that point, it aims to raise the pride of Vietnamese culture and enhance public awareness in using cultural symbols.

The exhibition is open until the end of 2015.


Some sacred animals on display at the exhibition:


A dragon carved on the “Dai Nam hiep ky lich chi bao” seal (Jade seal of the king of Dai Nam)
dating back to Thieu Tri in the Nguyen Dynasty (1847).



The bronze statue  of Tich ta made between the 1st and the 3rd century,
an Oriental rooted animal which looks like a winged lion.
It is a defending animal that can expel demonic powers and bad luck. 



A stone elephant of the Cham civilisation (the 10th century)


A monkey statue in the series of Three Wise Monkeys (embodying the principle of “See no evil,
Hear no evil, Speak no evil”) made of stone in the Ly Dynasty (the 11th-13th century).



A Terra cotta Mandarin duck  statue in the Ly Dynasty (the 11th-13th century).


The image of a Garuda holy bird carved on a terra cotta object in the Ly Dynasty (the 11th-13th century).


A Nghe (a mythological lion-head, dog-body animal) statue made of green and white ceramics
in the Le Trung Hung period (the 17th century). It is a legendary animal in Vietnamese culture,
which is often placed at the gate of pagodas and temples.



A Nghe statue made of terra cotta in the Le Trung Hung period (the 17th-18th century).


A Si van (a legendary sea creature with a curved tail) statue made of terra cotta
in the Le Trung Hung period (the 17th-18th century).



A lion statue made of terra cotta in the 18th-19th century,
it is often attached to columns in ancient buildings as a defending animal.



Statues of 12 animal designations made of jade in the Nguyen Dynasty (the 19th-20th century)
are used to count time according to the lunar orbit in the palace.



A Longma statue made of bronze in the Nguyen Dynasty (the 19th-20th century). 


Statues of a couple of snakes with human heads made of white ceramics
in the Nguyen Dynasty (the 19th-20th century). 

 
By Tat Son