Wooden statues offer peek into Vietnam highlands culture

By Pham Anh, Thanh Nien News

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Wooden statues offering a glimpse into ethnic culture were the highlight of an annual tourism promotion week in Mang Den, an emerging tourism area in the Central Highlands, that ended Sunday.
There were hundreds of them lined up in a forest near Pa Sy waterfall in Mang Den, which is at a height of 1,100 meters in Kon Tum Province and has ancient forests and dozens of lakes and waterfalls.
Mang Den, which means a vast, flat area in the language of the Mo Nam ethnic people, is being developed into a national tourism zone and it is hoped it will become a second Da Lat.
The statues include those of women pounding rice and weaving on looms, men going hunting, families working in the field and playing music, and people drinking wine and engaging in other traditional festival activities.
Wild and domesticated animals that feature extensively in Mo Nam society and typical highlands houses on stilts also feature.
A Binh, an artisan who took part in a carving contest for the fourth year with a 1.7-meter-tall statue of woman going to the field, said he learned sculpting by himself by watching older people.
The Mang Den Culture-Tourism Week, which opened March 12, also featured a cuisine festival that showcased around 60 highlands dishes, a sports event and a fashion and music show.

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