Culture of northern communal houses
Update: May 27, 2014
The HCMC Fine Arts Museum in District 1 is exhibiting more than 100 photos of the dragons and fairies carved on 40 communal houses in northern Viet Nam to provide visitors with better understanding of old architectural and sculptural values of the region.

Le Van Suu, principal of the Viet Nam University of Fine Arts, said that communal houses were the soul of villages in the region and thrived from the 15th to 18th centuries. It is a place were the traditional culture, folk arts and festivals, architectural and sculptural arts of the northern people were preserved.

“The exhibition is aimed to preserve the soul of the nation as well as enhance public awareness of conserving both tangible and intangible cultural values of local communal houses” Suu said.

The Viet Nam University of Fine Arts had the exhibits photographed from 2012 to 2013 for a project aimed to collect, promote and develop the values of communal houses in Viet Nam’s northern delta. The photos depict historical and cultural activities at the communal houses.

Ma Thanh Cao, director of the HCMC Fine Arts Museum, said the exhibition meant significantly to younger generations as it was a journey to old traditional arts.

However, Bui Thi Thanh Mai, a member of the research group of the project, expressed her sadness after the project was implemented as many communal houses looked quite different from their original shapes new after expensive upgrades, or were neglected.

Therefore, Mai said that the project was carried out to call on people to keep the communal houses intact and to respect traditional values.

The exhibition also features documentary films about images of the dragons and fairies that show Vietnamese people’s desire for happiness. Visitors can also watch a 3D film about the distinctive architecture of So Communal House in Hanoi’s Quoc Oai District, which is one the most beautiful communal house in the country.

The exhibition will last until June 23 at the museum, 97 Pho Duc Chinh Street in HCMC’s District 1.