Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Women power in Vietnam

This interesting place was opened to the public in 1995. It takes you through the life and culture of Vietnamese peoples especially the women. Well planned, the museum has audio-visual displays, photographs, models as well as historical objects to cover various issues. 

The exhibits are all about women - from different ethnic groups, their role in family life, their occupations/ professions, fashion and even their role in the different wars and revolutions in Vietnam. 

As surreal and fantastic the Ho Chi Minh museum was, this museum was more realistic in depicting the joys, struggles, hardships and achievements of Vietnamese women. You can see the immense contribution women make to Vietnamese society.

A visit that I made with a bit of scepticism, expecting a large dose of propaganda. It was anything but. 

The museum was well worth the entry fee (approx Rs. 85/ $1.3 in 2014) and the couple of hours I spent in the place. 

A few photographs from the visit.

The modern and colourful building housing the
Vietnamese Women's Museum

The circular central skylight with a display of beautiful
paper lamps. Exhibition rooms on the various floors
open into this central space.

Worship of the Mother Goddess.
(More info

Votive offerings made of paper and bamboo is an
income generating small industry in Vietnam.
The horse in the previous photograph is another
example of such an offering.

Some objects used by women soldiers during the wars
including a water bottle, sandals and a notebook of poems

More objects from the war including mechanic's tools,
a driving licence and a rear view mirror.

Traditional dress worn by women of a specific
ethnic group. Most exhibits were of ceremonial
dresses and wedding clothes.

More dresses worn by women from
different ethnic groups. The paper
lamps form a pretty backdrop.

A class of school children were taking a tour around
the museum. As imagined these tiny ones were bored
out of their skulls. Age appropriate activities, anyone?!

There was also a special exhibition of traditional Vietnamese dresses worn in movies, theatre productions and for special occasions. I gathered they were terribly expensive and treated like heirlooms. 

Classic traditional dresses

Exquisite embroidery on the dresses

For more details on the museum: http://baotangphunu.org.vn/, though some information is outdated. The website is available in English & French too.

I think it's high time India puts together one too if only to reinforce the importance of women in society. We have such a dichotomy in our country, where women are breaking barriers in various fields while at the same time they are treated worse than cattle in some parts of the country. 

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