Vietnam commemorates its military heroes with souvenir statues

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PHOTOS: TUOI TRE, VNEXPRESS

Vietnam
is making commemorative statues of its famous generals to be sold as souvenirs as part of an effort to offer the public a better understanding of Vietnamese history.

The "Vietnamese Famous Generals" project was officially introduced at the Vietnam Military History Museum in Hanoi last Saturday.

The project is being carried out by the Heritage Assembly Hall, the Circle Group, a Hanoi-based design company, the Vietnamese Association of Historical Sciences and the UNESCO Clubs Association in Hanoi.

Statues of generals Ly Thuong Kiet, Tran Hung Dao, Emperor Quang Trung, and Vo Nguyen Giap "” all well-known for their military ingenuity "” will be the first group to be featured.

Several statues of Tran Hung Dao and Emperor Quang Trung were presented at the launching ceremony. They were sculpted based on monuments designed respectively by deputy head of Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Vuong Duy Bien, and Vuong Hoc Bao.

The designs of Ly Thuong Kiet by Ha Dung Hiep and of Vo Nguyen Giap by Dang Xuan Hung were also displayed at the ceremony.

The objects will continue to be exhibited at the museum until September 10.

The statues of Tran Hung Dao and Quang Trung will be widely distributed to the market as soon as they are completed, according to news reports.

Tran Thanh Tung, founder of Heritage Assembly Hall, told news website VnExpress that the statues of Vo Nguyen Giap will be introduced to the public on the 60th anniversary of Vietnam's victory at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu over the French colonists and their allies in May 2014, and the 910th anniversary of Ly Thuong Kiet's death in 2015.

The statues will be made in different sizes out of bronze, stone or plaster.

Chairman of the UNESCO Clubs Association in Hanoi, Duong Trung Quoc, was quoted by VnExpress as saying Saturday that it is not easy to find souvenirs with cultural and historical value to give to foreign friends.

Echoing Quoc, Major General Le Ma Luong added that Vietnam has several outdoor monuments but not everyone have a chance to view them.

Meanwhile, small statues for people to buy and display at home are rare, Luong said, adding that he cannot find souvenirs featuring famous Vietnamese generals to bring as gifts when he takes international trips.

Quoc and Luong agreed the "Vietnamese Famous Generals" project will serve a meaningful purpose.  

"It [the project] will help promote Vietnamese history and make it come to life," Quoc said.

Ly Thuong Kiet (1019-1105), a mandarin under the Ly Dynasty, repelled invasions of China's Song army from 1075-1077.

Tran Hung Dao (1228-1300) was a military grand commander under the Tran Dynasty who warded off three Mongol invasions in the 13th century.

Emperor Quang Trung (1753-1792), born Nguyen Hue, together with his two brothers overthrew the Later Le Dynasty; defeated feudal lords Trinh and Nguyen; and established the Tay Son Dynasty. After becoming the second emperor of Tay Son in 1788, he turned back the Qing invaders in 1789.

Vo Nguyen Giap, born August 25, 1911, was a top general who led the army in many battles during the Anti-French Resistance War (1946-1954) and the Vietnam War (1960-1975).

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