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Vietnam: Ancient & Contemporary Artistic Heritage Denise Heywood Wednesday 02 October 2019

This lecture explores the artistic culture of Vietnam.  It includes the architectural heritage of French colonialism in cities, such as Hanoi, with its superb French opera house. Belle Epoque villas, colourful markets and the Old City of 36 Streets, where you can buy anything from coffee to coffins.  It highlights Saigon's French opera house, its Notre Dame cathedral and a post office designed by .Gustave Eiffel. 

It touches on the vibrant modern culture, revived since the turbulent events of the 20th century, revealed in the stylish silk costumes of Vietnamese women.  It shows contemporary paintings in oils and lacquer, internationally celebrated, a fusion of eastern and western influences but uniquely Vietnamese.

The lecture looks back at the ancient ruins of the Cham kingdom, through French scholars who uncovered them and shows the sculptural heritage of these warlike yet profoundly artistic people of central Vietnam during the 2nd-14th centuries, who repelled the Mongol armies of Kublai Khan.  First Hindu, then Islamic, they carved sanctuaries dedicated to the god Shiva.  Finally, it explores the culture of the Nguyen dynasty at Hue, with its Imperial Palace, a replica of the Forbidden City in Beijing, under restoration since the war and now a Unesco World Heritage site, and the emperors' imperial tombs, laid out along the banks of the evocatively named Perfumed River.