Top Ten Vietnamese/Lao Artifacts

Top Ten Vietnamese/Lao Artifacts

       Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With an estimated 90.3 million inhabitants (2012), it is the world’s 13th-most-populous country, and the eighth-most-populous Asian country. The country is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the east. Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976. The Vietnamese became independent from Imperial China in 938 AD, following the Battle of Bạch Đằng River. Successive Vietnamese royal dynasties flourished as the nation expanded geographically and politically into Southeast Asia, until the Indochina Peninsula was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century. The First Indochina War eventually led to the expulsion of the French in 1954, leaving Vietnam divided politically into two states, North and South Vietnam. Conflict between the two sides intensified, with heavy foreign intervention, during the Vietnam War, which ended with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975. Vietnam was then unified under a Communist government, but was politically isolated and impoverished. In 1986, the government initiated a series of economic and political reforms, which began Vietnam’s path towards integration into the world economy. By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with most nations. Its economic growth has been among the highest in the world since 2000. Vietnam has the highest Global Growth Generators Index among 11 major economies, and its successful economic reforms resulted in it joining the World Trade Organization in 2007. However, the country still suffers from relatively high levels of income inequality, as well as disparities in healthcare provision.

  1. Vo Canh Stele (2nd-3rd Century)

           This is the earliest stone stele not only of the Champa Kingdom but also of the whole of Vietnam. Its content refers to the first period of the foundation of a state, important for history study in each nation. The inscription on this stele is in Sanskrit and informs about Sri Mara who founded the South Champa Kingdom in the Panduranda area (Now Phan Rang province). It also shows Indian cultural and religious (Hinduism, Buddhism) influence on the Cham people, especially in the 1st century AD.
    Links: Top Ten Stelae, Top Ten Asian Stele,,
  2. Buddha

    Links: Top Ten Buddha Statues, Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  3. Boddhisattva (16th Century)

    The object is an ancient and valuable sculpture of Vietnam. It represents the Buddhist art of the 16th century. The sculpture has a strong, simple composition with sensible, precise decoration. The arms are placed so suitably that they form a rhythmical movement with each hand representing a folk dance. This is a concrete demonstration for the creation and skillfulness of the Vietnamese craftsmen of the 16th century.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  4. Gayatri Rajapatni

    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  5. Cham Sculpture

    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  6. Viet Khe Coffin in Boat Shape (500-0 BC)

    This is a typical burial way of Dong Son people (in the North of Viet Nam) and it is the biggest coffin in boat shape with the largest mount of grave goods as utensils, tools, musical instruments and weapons.
    Links: Top Ten Tombs,
  7. Door Carved with Dragons (17th Century)

    The door was made from iron with wood- engraved dragons, unicorns (two of four sacred animals) and clouds – the common theme of Buddhist art. The object represented the plastic style of the Restored Le Dynasty in the 17th Century which implied the powerful living force of the Vietnamese. This is a typical work of art from Vietnam’s classical fine arts period.
    Links: Top Ten Doors,
  8. Gold Pendant (9th-10th Century AD)

    Links: Top 100 Gold Artifacts,,
  9. Ling Xung Stele (11th Century AD)

    This is a stele which recorded the great merits of a national hero. This stele describes the contribution and merit of Ly Thuong Kiet, a National hero of Vietnam in the Ly Dynasty. It has remained intact until now with the complete engraved inscriptions.
    Links: Top Ten Stelae, Top Ten Asian Stele,
  10. Bodhisattva Lokeshvara (7th Century AD)

    This famous work originates from the Transbassac region, in the Shaman, where the lands belonged for a long time to the Khmer, and were only conquered by the Vietnamese in the 17th century. Naturally oriented towards the sea, rich in very ancient archaeological traces, this region seems to have especially benefited from the commercial exchanges that took place on the Southeast Asian coasts during the early centuries of the Common Era. The traders which established themselves at various points on the delta lands contributed to the Khmer Kingdom of Funan, amassing wealth. A faint echo of this can be found in the Chinese chronicles. Surprisingly well preserved, this large Buddha image bears witness to that affluence. Similar in many respects to the Khmer sculptures in the Phnom Da style, in what is today southern Cambodia, this sculpture was bestowed with the same style of clothing and ornaments found in meridional Khmer art. But, it is hardly surprising that a work originating from this region should display unusual characteristics, such as the treatment of the coronet and the halo, for example, when one considers that the region had more direct links with the outside world than Cambodia does today. The feeling of benevolence and the profound humanity which emanates from this radiant face decked in sumptuous jewelry wonderfully expresses the virtue of Compassion which characterizes this Being “bestowed with Enlightenment”, which is the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,
  11. Ceramic Bird

    Links: Top 100 Birds,
  12. Martavaan Jar

    A large cream-colored stoneware jar. On the shoulder, there is a four trefoiled appliqués and other decorations formed in a mould. The decoration of dragons around the body of the jar has been covered by a transparent dark blue glaze, forming thick glaze drops in places. The dark blue cobalt used for this jar probably originated in the Chinese province Yunnan. This province borders Vietnam and is where cobalt was found from the 15th century onwards.
  13. Ceramic Figure (14th-16th Century)

    The piece is a very unusual example of figurative ceramics made for the Indonesian market. It is expressively modelled and has finely painted features in various shades of cobalt blue glaze. The grotesque features and attributes such as the skirt wrap (kain panjang) and keris worn at the back of the waist, likely refer to a servant-clown character associated with the Javanese court. Such characters, known as Panakawan, feature prominently in the performing arts of Java.
  14. Links: Artifacts, Top Ten Asian Artifacts,

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