Fragments of human bones dating back about 2,300 years were uncovered at the Giong Ca Vo archaeological site in Ho Chi Minh City’s outlying district of Can Gio.
The discovery was part of the results of the 2021-22 excavation jointly conducted by the Institute of Archeology under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and the History Museum of Ho Chi Minh City.
It was reported during a working trip of Tran The Thuan, director of the municipal Department of Culture and Sports on Friday last week.
Besides five exploratory holes, a hole measuring over 200 square meters was dug. In the hole, 224 burial jars and 15 tombs were found.
In a tomb, archeologists discovered the remains of an ancient person believed to be a 1.65-meter man.
Two fangs were also found, suggesting that the person had a high position in society.
|A piece of stone earring shaped like two animals’ heads. Photo: L.Dien / Tuoi Tre|
The Giong Ca Vo archeological site, which is determined to date back 2,200-2,300 years, has been well known for multiple relics found in 1992 and 1994.
However, the excavation since March 2021 has shown many important results.
For instance, each burial jar there was found to have a soul escape window, which is a small round hole.
These holes even have lids, which are ceramic round pieces.
This burial rite of ancient people in Can Gio will open up many research plans for local and foreign archeologists.
According to Associate Professor Dr. Dang Van Thang, who has followed excavations at the Giong Ca Vo archeological site since 1990, with many glass relics, such as earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, ancient residents in Can Gio could have made glass tools and jewelries circa 300-200 BC.
“They might have learned techniques from India,” Thang said.
Four skulls of Can Gio ancient people found in burial jars are the most impressive.
The information of the four undamaged skulls made Associate Professor Dr. Nguyen Lan Cuong rush to Giong Ca Vo from Hanoi in August to process these important bones.
Thang also thought that the Gerasimov technique can be applied to reconstruct the faces of Can Gio ancient people from these skulls.
Many special relics were also discovered, including a patterned ceramic horn, a white agate bracelet, green stones, a piece of stone earring shaped like two animals’ heads, and colored glass earrings.
|Dang Van Thang (right) introduces the remains of the ancient man in Can Gio District to Tran The Thuan (R, 3rd), director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture and Sports. Photo: L.Dien / Tuoi Tre|
Giong Ca Vo on Southeast Asian archeology map
This discovery together with many valuable relics have cemented the position of Vietnam on the archeological map of the Southeast Asian region.
After crossing the Ha Thanh River to approach Giong Ca Vo, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture and Sports Thuan came to the communal house of Hoa Hiep Hamlet, Long Hoa Commune to see the relics.
Dr. Hoang Anh Tuan, director of the History Museum of Ho Chi Minh City cited Dr. Hsiao Chung Hung, an archeologist of the Australian National University, as saying that Giong Ca Vo is an important archeological site of Vietnam and Asia as a whole.
It connects eastern and western regions as well as northern and southern regions.
About 2,500 years ago, the site might have been a busy port which was home to many artisans.
In 2000, the Giong Ca Vo archeological site was recognized as a national historical and cultural relic.
Thuan said that the municipal Department of Culture and Sports would prepare dossiers to propose recognizing Giong Ca Vo as a special national cultural historical relic.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tuan suggested opening an exhibition room for relics and items disinterred in Giong Ca Vo.
Giong Ca Vo is located on the left bank of the Ha Thanh River, a branch of the Dinh Ba River, so tourists from Ho Chi Minh City can reach the site by boat.
It will be developed to connect tourism and archeology and become a venue for local and overseas archeological and academic activities.
|Dang Van Thang (left) introduces a piece of Olive ridley sea turtle’s shell, which is a pottery making tool of ancient people in Can Gio. Photo: L.Dien / Tuoi Tre|
Dr. Nguyen Thi Hau, who has participated in the excavation of Giong Ca Vo since 1990, said after three continuous excavating trips in 1992, 1993, and 1994 and another in 2021 – 22, archeologists have outlined the history of Can Gio in the period of 2,000-3,000 years ago.
By studying the culture of Southeast Asia in the prehistoric age, it can be inferred that sea, especially trade or migration through sea, is the cause for the cultural assimilation reflected through burial jars.
The East Vietnam Sea always plays an important role in the development of the Southeast Asian region.
It promotes the development of the Champa culture from the Sa Huynh culture and the Oc Eo culture to the Can Gio culture, Hau added.
|The high density of burial jars at the Giong Ca Vo archeological site. Photo: L.Dien / Tuoi Tre|
|A white agate bracelet. Photo: L.Dien / Tuoi Tre|
|Colored glass earrings. Photo: L.Dien / Tuoi Tre|
Vietnamese choreographer Tan Loc introduces new contemporary ballet ‘Senzen’
A contemporary ballet that incorporates the harmonious fusion of traditional Vietnamese instruments and Japan’s Taiko drums, ‘Senzen’ marks the return of choreographer Nguyen Tan Loc and Arabesque Vietnam, a neo-classical and contemporary dance company, after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jointly organized by Arabesque Vietnam and performance art theater Saigon Concert, the gig is set for December 16 and 17 at the Municipal Theater, also known as the Saigon Opera House, in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City.
During a briefing for ‘Senzen,’ Tan Loc, the art director of the show, reflected on his past experience as an international student in Japan nearly 30 years ago, his sentiments about his profession, and the challenges he faced during the pandemic.
“After the struggle between life and death, I’ve gained an appreciation for what I have, cherishing every encounter and every opportunity to pursue my passion,” Loc said.
“A dancer must practice every day to keep in form.
“Amidst chaos, maintaining calm is essential to excel in your pursuits.”
|Choreographer Tan Loc speaks at a press briefing at the Saigon Opera House in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, December 1, 2023. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Those inner reflections served as inspiration for him and his colleagues to create the contemporary ballet ‘Senzen’ in celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Japan.
The play’s title unveils themes shared by Japanese and Vietnamese cultures, where ‘sen’ symbolizes the lotus flower and ‘zen’ represents meditation.
The piece is likened to a voyage of exploring the philosophy of mindfulness, offering each individual the chance to observe and understand themselves.
The performance is meticulously curated, from stage design and lighting to the serene fusion of timpani, Japanese drums, and traditional Vietnamese musical instruments.
It involves a modest cast of seven to eight dancers but has demanded the dedication of a crew of nearly a hundred over the past six months.
Among them are those who tirelessly commute between Vietnam and foreign countries, working both online and offline, such as choreographer Ngoc Anh.
|Kensaku Satou of Japan shows his mastery of Taiko drums. Photo: Koshizuka Mitsuki|
The ballet will also feature the renowned Japanese drum master Kensaku Satou, who performed in prestigious events such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics closing ceremony, FIFA World Cup editions, and various international programs.
This will mark his debut in Vietnam.
In a video message, the artist conveyed his enthusiasm and anticipation for a harmonious performance, blending Arabesque Vietnam dancers with the energetic rhythm of Japanese Taiko drums, for the Vietnamese audience.
A performance for contemporary dance lovers
Giving details on ‘Senzen,’ Tan Loc recalled his beginning as a Vietnamese student in Japan in 1994, where he received immense support from his Japanese friends, shaping him into the person he is today.
Tan Loc also shared a special connection with dancer Chika Tatsumi, whom he met when she was just seven years old.
Now grown up, Chika has stayed in Vietnam to dance for Arabesque Vietnam.
|Dancer Chika Tatsumi performs the contemporary ballet ‘Senzen.’ Photo: DaiNgoStudio|
The choreographer said he and his dancers, each with their unique ties to the play, have faced various challenges, including anticipated financial losses for the two upcoming performance nights.
Despite the difficulties, Tan Loc and his colleagues continue to exert their utmost effort in ‘Senzen,’ envisioning it as a cultural and artistic bridge fostering the emotional connection between the peoples of Vietnam and Japan.
Tan Loc also expects the play to bring harmony and empathy, not only to the artists involved but also the audience.
While Loc expressed concerns about the selectivity of contemporary dance and the potential deterrent of the meditation theme for younger audiences, the first two premieres of ‘Senzen’ have surprisingly attracted interest from many young individuals in Generation Z and enthusiastic engagement from young TikTokers.
|Dancers perform the contemporary ballet ‘Senzen.’ Photo: DaiNgoStudio|
Looking ahead to 2024, Arabesque Vietnam has received orders from Saigon Concert for works for teenagers and children, the two age groups often overlooked in artistic endeavors.
Tan Loc emphasizes that the dance company’s approach will always be distinct.
“We strive to maintain our artistic identity in the eyes of the audience,” the artist stated.
He confides that despite being questioned multiple times about the challenges and losses associated with their artistic pursuits, he persists because he believes in the transformative power of art.
Arabesque Vietnam has contributed to the community by organizing numerous gratis shows for students in Ho Chi Minh City.
One of those students, inspired by one of his plays, developed a deeper love for his hometown in Vietnam’s central region and dedicated themself to studying to contribute to the homeland.
|Dancer Vu Minh Thu performs the contemporary ballet ‘Senzen.’ Photo: DaiNgoStudio|
Vietnamese war veteran a father to hundreds of orphans
With deep love for abandoned and orphaned children, Huynh Tan Hung, a war veteran living in Phu Ninh District under Quang Nam Province, located in central Vietnam, is fostering these star-crossed children.
His house has become a safe shelter for the poor kids.
The man recounted that he just wanted to land a stable job to provide for his ‘children’ and brighten their fate instead of fishing for any praise for his act of kindness.
His road to kindness has lasted for over 15 years.
A warm-hearted foster father
Located near a rice paddy, his tile-roofed house serves as a playground, study space, and sleeping quarters for these kids.
Hung and some volunteer babysitters are busy caring for these children from morning until night.
|Huynh Tan Hung. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
“Vet Huynh Tan Hung is a weird man,” said Nguyen Dinh Vung, head of Tan Thinh Quarter in Phu Thinh Town under Phu Ninh District.
Over 15 years ago, a single mother in the area got Hung to take care of her ailing child so that she could leave for work.
Due to his affection for kids, many disadvantaged households sent their children to his house.
In the initial stage, they brought their kids to Hung’s home in the morning and picked them up in the evening.
These children were attached to him, and he did not charge poor parents for looking after their children.
Subsequently, he fostered more abandoned kids.
Hung said that he is a war veteran who returned to Vietnam from Cambodia.
He lives as a compassionate individual, often extending a helping hand to those in need as a way of giving back for his life, especially considering the loss of his comrades during wartime.
Before establishing a nursing center for orphans, he had spent his money building houses for many underprivileged people.
He has never scolded these children; instead, he treats them with tolerance and benevolence.
Consequently, they affectionately refer to him as ‘daddy.’
The orphan-raising center features several lines of rooms, including dining rooms, playgrounds, bedrooms, reading rooms, and classrooms, but it includes just a small chamber to house him.
He said that he is over 60 years old and requires nothing for himself, but his desire is to provide the best for the children under his care.
In his room, there is a sturdy mattress and a fan, while the children’s rooms are furnished with softer mattresses and air conditioners.
His kindness has garnered support from numerous volunteers who visit his center to perform household tasks, cook, clean, and take care of the children.
Dinh Thi Hong Duc, a babysitter at his center, shared that she had heard a lot about Hung’s home. However, it was not until 2014, when her child was frequently ill, that she decided to bring her kid to his house.
Thanks to his nursing skills, Hung helped Duc’s child become well again.
She is touched by the kind-hearted man, who dedicates his life as a senior citizen to looking after orphans and poor children.
As such, she asked him to allow her to share his work.
Besides Duc, some others came to his house to help Hung and his wife care for these children.
Hung’s biological children who reside in neighboring Da Nang City and other localities often buy rice, clothes, and books for the kids.
The foster children attend school daily, including university students and mature young individuals. Periodically, they return to his house to assist in caring for the other kids.
|Dinh Thi Hong Duc, a volunteer at Huynh Tan Hung’s caregiving center, looks after one of the children. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The ‘father’ deserves praise
On November 11, the chairman of the Quang Nam Province People’s Committee sent an introductory letter to the Central Emulation and Commendation Council, suggesting the recognition of Hung as a model citizen for the 2021-25 period.
According to the introductory letter, since the establishment of the center, around 200 children who were cared for at the facility have been successfully reunited with their families. Additionally, more than 200 others have grown up under the care of the center.
These children have received proper education and have been given the opportunity to attend school, with four of them having landed a job after their graduation.
Hung has helped multiple disadvantaged households in the district over the past many years.
The magnanimous man and his wife while not wealthy, sustain themselves on their pension and income from their rice fields.
Nurtured within the warmth of such a caring home, these orphans can sense the love and compassion provided by Hung, even though he is not their biological father.
Vietnam map made of bamboo toothpicks sets world record
The World Records Union (WorldKings) has officially awarded a World Record certificate to the ‘Map of Vietnam,’ a distinctive masterpiece crafted from over 115,000 bamboo toothpicks.
Conceptualized by a Vietnamese architect, this incredible artwork was meticulously created over eight months, with the collaborative efforts of nearly 12,000 individuals.
Hoang Tuan Long, the visionary behind the ‘Map of Vietnam’ artwork, was presented with the well-deserved World Record certificate on Saturday.
The certificate was officially granted by the Vietnam Records Organization (VietKings) and the Vietnam Record Association, acting under the authorization of WorldKings.
The architect was honored with the title ‘The Author of ‘Map of Vietnam’’ – The bamboo toothpick artwork created by the largest number of people in the world, as reported by WorldKings.
|The ‘Map of Vietnam,’ a Boarc-style artwork made from bamboo toothpicks, originated from the creative vision of Vietnamese architect Hoang Tuan Long. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
Under Long’s leadership, the unique map of Vietnam measuring 1.8m x 2.8m was meticulously crafted from over 115,000 bamboo toothpicks by a remarkable collaboration of 11,898 individuals.
This incredible endeavor spanned more than 240 days and took place across 10 locations in four provinces and cities, including Hanoi, Vinh Phuc, Thua Thien-Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City.
The participants included individuals from schools, museums, pagodas, churches, festivals, and various public places in the localities visited by Long and his team during their journey from April 6 to November 12 of this year.
The map was crafted in the Bamboo Acrylic Art (Boarc) style, a technique that seamlessly integrates bamboo toothpick material with contemporary laser-cut Mica pieces, as detailed by WorldKings.
On the west side of the map, intricate patterns inspired by the Dong Son bronze drum adorn the surface. This iconic design reflects the rich cultural heritage of the Dong Son civilization, which existed from 700 BC to 100 AD among the ancient Vietnamese people.
At the top of the artwork, the Vietnamese words ‘Non sông Việt Nam’ (‘Country of Vietnam’) are prominently displayed, adding a meaningful and patriotic touch to the piece.
This remarkable achievement also earned the architect a Vietnamese record certificate from Vietkings, recognizing it as ‘the Map of Vietnam, a bamboo toothpick work created by the largest number of people across northern, central, and southern Vietnam.”
The record holder shared with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that his extraordinary map will be showcased at BoArc Gallery in Ho Chi Minh City’s downtown District 1, or it may also find a place in select museums in the near future.
Later on, he plans to grant authorization to Vietkings for the auction of the artwork, with the proceeds dedicated to assisting approximately 20 orphans residing at Quan Am Pagoda in southern Dong Nai Province, as well as other children facing similar circumstances in different localities.
“It is the orphans who motivate me to undertake community projects, including the creation of this map,” Long confided.
The architect expressed his readiness to embark on two additional art projects in the near future, including a depiction of Vietnam’s Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, measuring 0.8 x 2 meters, and a world map with dimensions of 2.5 x 5 meters.
|This provided image captures participants engaged in the creation of the ‘Map of Vietnam’ using bamboo toothpicks, a visionary work conceptualized by Vietnamese architect Hoang Tuan Long.|
Long said he would appeal to everybody to continue supporting him in making the two new works.
This marks the second occasion that Long, a graduate with a master’s degree in architecture from the Belarusian National Technical University, has set a world record in the field of art.
In 2020, he was recognized by WorldKings as ‘The first person who created and built miniature models of many famous architectural heritage works in the world using Boarc Art.”
Two years later, Long achieved another milestone by setting an Asia Record for ‘Mandala Universe,’ a Boarc-style painting crafted from 27,000 bamboo sticks over a period of three months.
The 49-year-old architect, a native of Ho Chi Minh City, is also the creative mind behind numerous renowned toothpick architectural models in Vietnam.
Notable examples include the Mot Cot (One-Pillar) pagoda in Hanoi, Ngo Mon (Meridian Gate) in Hue City, and Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, among others.
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