Porcelain's DVD release to include exhibit of props, artifacts

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A Danish museum is celebrating the DVD release of the mini-series Porcelain by hosting an exhibition from August 12 to September 20 in the Sàn Art Organization's Gallery in Ho Chi Minh City.

The story is set against the 17th century Dutch war with Spain over trade routes. The series was commissioned by the Zeeuws museum in Middleburg City to explain the origins of one of its collections.

The show, which aired in March of this year, was broadcast both at home and abroad.

Boatload of Porcelain

On Christmas morning, 1601 the San Jago set sail from Goa bound for Lisbon. On March 14,1602, off the coast of St. Helena, the San Jago unexpectedly encountered three Dutch ships. A fierce battle ensued. After three days of fighting, the Portuguese surrendered and the Dutch took possession of the ship loaded with porcelain.

Upon arrival in Holland a huge auction of the Portuguese booty was held. Porcelain was considered an invaluable luxury item at that time - Europeans did not know how to produce the artisanal ceramic products.

The unprecedented revenues generated by the sale stimulated the tiny nation's economy. The Dutch shrewdly used the captured items as diplomatic gifts in order to win allies in their war of independence against Spain. Among the recipients of the treasured items were King Henry IV of France and Queen Elizabeth I of England.

The film tells the story of a 17th century Vietnamese maiden named Mai, who was lost in Holland, "a faraway land belonging to giant white people who wear wooden shoes and who are crazy about porcelain."

Serious props

The three-part historical drama was produced by Vietnamese-owned The Propeller Group and filmed, in Vietnam, by the Danish artist group Superflex

"Vietnam is heavily represented in the shared global narrative of the series," said Tuan Andrew Nguyen of The Propeller Group. "We liked the idea of using the format of a Vietnamese television drama series to actively participate in the recreation of the history of a western country."

The film makers were granted the rights to use authentic historical relics loaned from the Zeeuws museum in Holland during filming. The props the crew created for their series were donated to the museum following the end of filming.

The exhibition at Sàn Art will include several genuine items along with 100 props. The exhibition will also include a presentation explaining the process of re-creating the objects and a historical drama.

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