ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT IN BRIEF 15/2

Hanoi spruces up for Valentine’s Day

Hanoi’s chocolate makers, flower shops, and restaurants are enticing lovers with a range of products and services for this year’s Valentine’s Day.

The IVY Chocolate shop has introduced varieties of self-designed and imported chocolate with prices listed at VND20,000 per small piece.

The BelCholat in Tue Tinh Street sells exclusive chocolate varieties suitable for Valentine’s Day with flexible prices ranging from hundred of thousands to millions of VND.

Its promotions include a complimentary chocolate box with any purchase.

The proprietor of Moc flower shop in Ba Trieu Street said the number of Valentine’s Day orders is comparable to previous years.

She said her shop has received orders worth millions of VND, including some sent by women to their boyfriends.

Her shop plans on selling 7,000-8,000 red roses over Valentine’s Day at VND10,000 and VND20,000 each.

Most of Hotel Metropole Hanoi’s restaurants allow customers to book a table for Valentine’s dinner at VND1.7 million-VND3.3 million per person excluding service charges and tax. The most desired seating has already been reserved.

The situation is the same at Mondo Gelato in Ba Trieu Street. Only 10 tables remain available for booking

Last year, the entirety of the restaurant’s two storeys was fully booked and some couples had to be turned away.

This year, Mondo Gelato offered two different table packages at VND749,000 and VND999,000 per couple (plus a 10 percent service charge).

Activities mark Ngoc Hoi-Dong Da Victory

Thousands of locals and visitors have attended a festival in Hanoi’s Dong Da Park marking the 224th anniversary of the Ngoc Hoi-Dong Da Victory on February 14.

The festival opened with offerings and incense in memory of King Quang Trung-Nguyen Hue and the Tay Son soldiers.

A series of cultural, artistic, and sporting activities—including martial art performances—took place during the day (the fifth of the first lunar month).

Residents in central Binh Dinh province, King Quang Trung’s homeland, gathered at Quang Trung Museum a day earlier and offered incense to commemorate his merits.

In the early spring of 1789, Nguyen Hue, who was later proclaimed Emperor Quang Trung, led his guerrilla forces from Hue Imperial Palace to Hanoi. Hanoi was under the occupation of the Chinese Qing army.

His surprise attack on the fifth day of the Lunar New Year defeated more than 20,000 Qing soldiers.

The festival at Quang Trung Museum re-enacts Nguyen Hue’s attack on the enemy in defence of the national sovereignty.

Similar commemorations in honour of the Ngoc Hoi-Dong Da Victory were also held in the central provinces of Nghe An and Thua Thien-Hue.

National heritage: Lo Lo people’s ancestral worship

The Lo Lo ethnic minority group’s ancestral worship was recently recognised as a national intangible cultural heritage. It is also the special cultural identity of ethnic people inhabiting Dong Van Stone Plateau in mountainous northern Ha Giang province.

The ancestral worship, which aims to acknowledge ancestors, is a beautiful spiritual custom passed down from generation to generation. It is practised by the Lo Lo people only during the Lunar New Year festival and on the 15th day of July of the lunar calendar.

Offerings to ancestors include one cow, one pig, one chicken, steamed glutinous rice, alcohol and votive papers. A pair of bronze drums, with one representing the male and the other exemplifying the female, is indispensable to the Lo Lo people. The drums symbolise the universe and human beings, and are the embodiment of gods.

The solemn worship lasts for two and a half days. Young people wearing traditional costumes perform ritual dances to the rhythm of the bronze drums.

At the end of the worship, the food offerings will be served to thank neighbours for their help.

The Lo Lo people believe that through this practice, their ancestors will be happy in the after life and give them health and prosperity.

Duong Thanh Huong, Deputy Director of Ha Giang Museum, said the Lo Lo people’s ancestral worship is a unique custom, connecting family members and enhancing solidarity among the community.

The Lo Lo population in Ha Giang numbers 1,506, residing mostly in Lung Cu, Lung Tao, and Sung La communes of Dong Van district and Thuong Phung and Xin Cai communes of Meo Vac district.

Female artist creates largest ceramic mosaic flag of Vietnam

A gigantic ceramic mosaic flag of Vietnam was built on Truong Sa Island–one so large that it was visible from space via satellite imagery such as Google Earth, and one that proclaims Vietnam’s sovereignty of Truong Sa archipelago.

The ceramic mosaic national flag of Vietnam on Truong Sa Island.

The ceramic mosaic national flag of Vietnam was made by journalist and artist Nguyen Thu Thuy, who received recognition from Guinness Book of World Records for her achievement in creating mural paintings on occasion of Hanoi’s millennium. Ordinarily, not many people would give much notice to an unobtrusive and humble woman like Thuy, who in her own quiet way managed to create such an incredible sculpture.

With a deep-seated idea to do something meaningful to proclaim Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelago, artist Thu Thuy came up with this daring and bold yet highly imaginative project to sculpt a giant ceramic mosaic flag of Vietnam and four mural paintings on Truong Sa Island.

Thuy said that at the beginning she deliberated a lot on the kind of material to use and the way to carry out her project amid severe and hostile weather conditions on Truong Sa Island. In addition, carrying out such a huge project on a remote island came with its own challenges.

To make this possible, she wrote a letter to present her idea with a sketch of the flag and the mural painting to the Ministry of Defense and the High Command of the Navy who approved her proposal and started a field research in December 2011 to choose the location for the project. They finally settled on the roof top of the meeting hall on the island.

Thuy says that in order to create the scarlet color for the tiles she had to study the durability of ceramic enamel under contact with salinity at sea from objects lifted off shipwrecks in Cu Lao Cham in Quang Nam Province, Hon Dam in Kien Giang Province, and Hon Cau in Vung Tau City.

Artisans from Bat Trang trade village, which is famous for producing a unique style of ceramic called Bát Tràng Porcelain, also said that it was difficult to create the scarlet color enamel for the tiles. The color can only be created at a temperature of 1,200 degrees celsius and requires very strict control of temperature during the firing process.

After three months of hard work on the island, Thuy and her team were able to complete the gigantic Vietnamese flag with 310,000 ceramic tiles and covering an area of 310 square meters and four large mural paintings on two walls which measure 2.8 meters in height and 9 meters in length.

After the opening ceremony on June 6, 2012, Thuy’s work was given recognition by the Vietnam Book of Records as the largest ceramic national flag of the country.

Royal music database established

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The Hue Royal Arts Theatre has established a database of royal music, said theatre director Truong Tuan Hai.

Beside its regular performance activities, the research team of the theatre has completed files of two old pieces of nha nhac (royal music): Bai Ban Tam Thien and part of Ban Cung Ai, Hai said.

They also made files of masks used in Hue’s Tuong (classical drama).

The theatre had restaged an old tuong play on General Tran Binh Trong (1259-85), and organised two training courses on royal music and dances.

It had also completed a draft plan for doing research on establishing a database of royal music, Hai said.

The initial database stock had been gathered, based on royal documents of the Nguyen dynasty (1802 – 1945). It also contained interviews with live artists, plus audio and visual records of music pieces and acting gestures, he said.

The theatre’s research team had met with 20 old artists of royal music, classical drama and dance, who were living in Hue city and its vicinity. As many as 250 pages of written documents were completed on the artists’ profiles, plus music notes of their performance and 67 CDs and VCDs on their performing techniques.

For example, Tran Kich, before he passed away in December 2010, helped record 30 old lyrics of royal music. Old brothers Lu Huu Thi and Lu Huu Cu of Huong Tra District, who were both over 100 years old, had spared no effort to teach young artists.

They were among a few people who could remember old music pieces performed at the Nam Giao worship ceremony. The two brothers were among living artisans of the royal music band of Bao Dai reign (1926-45), who could play various traditional instruments like the dan nhi (two-stringed fiddle), tam am, phach tien and mo (percussion).

Source: SGGP, VOV, dtinews

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