Monday, October 13, 2008

Museum Day

Hanoi boasts many interesting museums. We tried to see them all. But most of them were not interesting enough for Pearce (2-yr-old). Except the Museum of Ethnology. I think Pearce had more fun there than we did. The museum has a large children's discovery room that combines fun and educational activities such as traditional weaving, dyeing and block printing. But those activities were not a big draw for Pearce. He found his own interactive activities that probably were not meant as such.

Above, he plays "Kung Fu" with his "guys" (aka action figures) in a miniature traditional Ede longhouse. He could have played for hours. As it was, we had to drag him out kicking and screaming.

Vietnamese may be the world's best at maximizing transportation loads on two wheels. I've seen over nine huge live pigs on one bike. Above is a famous example depicted at the museum. Apparently, the owner of this bike was a man who transported these fishing traps just like above from his home vilage to a market over 20 kilometers every day. As impressive as that may be, it's even more impressive when you see these engineering marvels going 50 mph, weaving in and out of traffic like a downhill slalom skier.

This is a full scale replica of the traditional communal house of the Bahnar. It stands 19 meters high and was built in 2003 by 42 villagers from the Kon Rbang village, Kontum town and the Central Highlands. According to the Bahnar, the communal house is the symbol of skill and strength of the villagers. Frankly I would agree. They built this monster of a hut with basic tools and their bare hands. These communal houses are still being built around Vietnam today. But those stairs are very sketchy. We need smaller Vietnamese feet.

The construction and craftmanship was remarkable inside and out.

We covered Pearce's eyes for this display. This was the funeral hut. These statues were placed around the hut to help the deceased with fertility into the next life. My first thoughts went to the extrodinary proportions on the wish bud!

Over all, ethnology was a fun learning experience for the whole family...and a little pornagraphic.


Trang said...

I like that funeral hut the best when I first visited this museum!

terahreu said...

Love the bike! We are such losers in the states cause we can barely fit that into our SUV.

I also loved the wooden statues. We have a few carvings, on temples no less, that look quite similar!