History comes alive through collection of ancient Vietnamese lamps

By Quynh Tran   August 25, 2018 | 09:04 pm GMT+7

650 lamps, dating back to the 5th century BC, are on display at a church in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Vietnams ancient lamps collection, with the theme Light for all people, is currently in exhibition at the Tradition House of the Saint Joseph Seminary of Saigon. This collection was started since 1863

A collection of ancient Vietnamese lamps, with the theme "Light for all people", is on display at the Saint Joseph Seminary at No.6 Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1, HCMC. This collection began in 1863. The exhibition will be open every weekend until January 6, 2019 from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. and from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Entry is free.

The lamps in the collection belong to Father Nguye Huu Triet and 10 other collectors from all around the country. The are all of diffrent shape and size, made fomr variety of materials, such as terracotta, copper, ceramic, wood, iron, glass...

The lamps belong to Father Nguyen Huu Triet and 10 other collectors from all around the country. They are in various shapes and sizes and made from a variety of materials such as terracotta, copper, ceramic, wood, iron, and glass.

The majority of the lamps are originated in Vietnam, dated back from prehistoric times to the late 20th century. the oldest in the collection is a terracotta lamp, from the 5th century BC, belonging to the Dong Son culture (a Bronze age culture from 1000 BC until 1st century AD, centred at the Red River, northern Vietnam)This is the early stage of lamp making, when people started to learn how to use clays to create tools for everday life activities

The majority of the lamps originated in Vietnam, with some dating back to ancient times. The oldest in the collection is a terracotta lamp from the 5th century BC belonging to the Dong Son, a bronze age culture that lasted from 1000 BC to the 1st century AD on the banks of the Red River in northern Vietnam. This was an early stage of lamp making, when people started to learn how to use clay to make everyday tools.

In Dong Son culture, the ancient people of Vietnam used copper and iron to make objects like drums, jars, weapons, jelwery... and of course, bronze lamps. Each lamp has a different shape and size, some as tiny as a finger but still crafted in great details.

In the Dong Son Culture, the ancient Vietnamese used copper and iron to make objects like drums, jars, weapons, and jewelry and bronze to make lamps. Each lamp has a different shape and size, some only the size of a finger but still crafted intricately.

A ceramic lamp, made during the 13th century - 14th century (Ly - Tran dysnasty), one of the peak of cultural development of ancient Vietnam.

A ceramic lamp made during the 13th - 14th centuries, a period that represented the apotheosis of cultural development in ancient Vietnam.

These are lamps made during the Le dynasty, period around 16th-17th century.Im from Dong Nai (a province located east and northeast of HCMC). I came to Saigon to visit the Seminary, and then just happened to find this exhibition. I only learn now that Vietnamese people already started making lamps ince hundreds of years B.C, Ms. Hien, a visitor said. 

These are lamps made during the Le Dynasty era in the 16th-17th centuries. Hien, a visitor, said: "I'm from Dong Nai (a southern province). I came to Saigon to visit the Seminary and then just happened to find this exhibition. I only learnt now that Vietnamese people have been making lamps for hundreds of years before the Common Era."

A large ceramic lampstand, nearly 1m tall, made during the Le Dynasty period, is displayed in its own cabinet.

A large ceramic lampstand, nearly 1m tall, made during the Le Dynasty period, is displayed in its own cabinet.

An iron lamp made by artists in Hue during the 19th century. It features the images of a dragon and a phoenix

An iron lamp made by artists in Hue during the 19th century. It features two dragons and a phoenix.

A curious English visitor taking photos and reading information about the lamps. Most of the lamps in the ehibition were made in the late 19th century, up until the end of the 20th century, originated from villages known for their ceramic tradition such as Bat Trang (near Hanoi), Lai Thieu (a ward of Binh Duong Province, Southeast region of Vietnam),....

An English visitor at the exhibition. Most of the lamps at the exhibition were made between the late 19th century and the end of the 20th century in villages known for their ceramic traditions such as Bat Trang (Hanoi) and Lai Thieu (southern Binh Duong Province). 

A Champas copper lamp, made during the 13th century - 18th century

A Champa copper lamp, made in the 13th - 18th centuries. There are also lamps from other cultures that existed in the southern part of ancient Vietnam, such as Khmer, Sa Huynh and Oc Eo.

Among the made-in-Vietnam lamps are some originated from France, India, Germany... from between 19th century - 20th century. Like these Indians giant lamps, made from iron and weight nearly 10kg.

Among the lamps are some that originated in faraway places like France, India, Germany in the 19th - 20th centuries. These giant Indian iron lamps weigh nearly 10 kg each.

 
 
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