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Merlion 06-22-2007 09:40 AM

Statues in Vietnam: a study in disrepair
These two critical online news stories are from the same Vietnam site.

National statue in disrepair

19/6/2007, Since being inaugurated in 2004, the 220-ton bronze statue Dien Bien Phu Victory in the northwestern province of Dien Bien, which is considered to be the most expensive and biggest project of its kind, has fallen into serious disrepair.

Visitors can observe thick layers of greenish rust at a corner of the flag of the statue, along the staff, as well as on the arms and legs of the soldiers, in addition to tens of ugly coloured cracks on the statue as a whole and the granite platform whose colour is fading.

According to Nguyen Trung Si, Director of Dien Bien Phu Victory Museum, the possibility that waste bronze was used to construct the statue is high.....

Statues in Vietnam: a study in disrepair

22/06/2007, VietNamNet Bridge Ė The poor condition of the countryís biggest and most expensive statue, Dien Bien Phu Victory, is directing public attention to Vietnamís statue construction, which has long been considered wasteful and inartistic.

The Dien Bien Phu Victory statue, the disrepair of which is being suspected of having been caused by the use of waste rather than high-quality bronze, is only one example of the lack of conscientiousness found in many of those who have been involved in carrying out statue works.

Last year, the bronze Nguyen Van Cu statue in the northern province of Bac Ninh was also reported to be in rapid decline just 2 years after being constructed. And the case turned out to be that the construction process hadnít been carried out properly. Instead of weighing 7 tons as planned, the final work was only over 5 tons in weight. And it also didnít go with a relief as it was supposed to. ....

fritchie 06-22-2007 07:06 PM

Re: Statues in Vietnam: a study in disrepair
There should be little problem with using "waste bronze" if the material is selected carefully. Many or even most bronze sculptures cast in the Western world before 1900, or even the 1920's to 1940's, probably were made of such "scrap". And copper alloys almost always turn a greenish or bluish color with time. Realistically, this should be accepted, or administrative plans should be laid for regular maintenance.

This piece is a matter of national pride, and that's doubtlesss the source of complaints. However, my main criticism is with the form. It's a relatively late example of Soviet era heavy-handedness in "herioc" figuration, and I find almost all of that stuff esthetically boring.

Merlion 06-22-2007 08:08 PM

Re: Statues in Vietnam: a study in disrepair
I agree this statue still give the image of old soviet style momumental statue, although not the excess Stalin style.

It is not too long ago that this statue was installed, in 2004. The commission and approval for it would be a few years earlier, say 2000 or before. By then Vietnam has already embarked on its economic reform. But perhaps the old political style still had not changed.

The articles are a bit critical of the quality and condition of this statue. As they are in English, they are for general online reading world-wide. It may be a sign of the fast changing Vietnam, gradually more transparent to the world, that the articles come from the site of a company located not outside Vietnam, but in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Some info about Vietnam's economy, from the CIA World Fact Book.
"GDP growth averaged 6.8% per year from 1997 to 2004 even against the background of the Asian financial crisis and a global recession, and growth hit 8% in 2005 and 7.8% in 2006."

Merlion 07-03-2007 11:10 AM

Re: Statues in Vietnam: a study in disrepair
Vietnam is changing fast. Their authorities have gone beyond allowing their own people to write openly about the poor conditions of this important memorial. They have investigated and are arresting officials for corruption in connection with this scandal.

Vietnamese statue falls victim to corruption

July 4, 2007, HANOI: A memorial to Vietnamís 1954 Dien Bien Phu battle is falling apart because corrupt officials replaced copper bought for its construction with cheaper material, state press reported Tuesday.

Just three years after it was built in 2004, the 12-meter statue depicting Vietnamese soldiers routing the French army in the battle that precipitated the end of colonial rule is already showing cracks.

Investigators in Vietnam, where corruption is endemic, believe officials stole around 30 percent of the 220 tons of copper at a 240-million-dong (US$15,000) profit.

Five people were arrested in June over the scandal, which has gripped the nation.

The Vietnamese government has made the fight against corruption one of its priorities

fritchie 07-03-2007 06:43 PM

Re: Statues in Vietnam: a study in disrepair
Wonder what the alloy really is ????

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