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Millennium-old artifacts left uncared-for at Vietnam museum

Saturday, July 06, 2019, 19:00 GMT+7
Millennium-old artifacts left uncared-for at Vietnam museum
Ancient artifacts are left outdoors with no protection from the weather at the Binh Dinh General Hospital in Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Thai Thinh / Tuoi Tre

Limited storage space has forced hundreds of artifacts dating back to the 11th century to be left outdoors with no protection from the weather at a museum in Binh Dinh Province of south-central Vietnam.

The mistreatment of rare ancient artifacts, which belonged to the once-powerful Champa kingdom that existed along the south-central coast of Vietnam, are being seen at the Binh Dinh General Museum.

Earthenware and sculptures made between the 11th and 13th century including Champa pots, bowls, tiles and plates could be seen stored inside iron baskets and left under direct sunlight in the backyard of the tiny museum.

Around 100 stone artifacts that were once part of the Duong Long temple tower – the archetypal structure of Champa architecture – and have since 2015 been recognized as special national relics also suffer the same fate.

The Binh Dinh General Museum was built in 1966 and is now becoming too small for the volume of artifacts under its management, according to the museum’s vice director Bui Tinh.

The museum oversees the preservation and display of more than 13,000 documents and artifacts that chronicle the development of south-central Vietnam from the iron age until the modern day, Tinh said.

The museum has run out of storage space for new artifacts since 2006 and is now struggling with a deteriorating 53-year-old building, he added.

 “We have no choice but to leave some of our artifacts outdoors,” Tinh said.

An expansion of the current museum was proposed in June 2017 by the provincial Department of Planning and Investment but met with rejection from the administration of Binh Dinh, which was mulling over moving the museum to a new location.

As of today, the provincial government has yet to decide on a new venue for the museum.

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