Artists join hands to rebuild Muong ancient house

It has been nearly two years since the century-old ‘Lang” house - an iconic construction of great significance of the Muong ethic minority group at the Muong’s Cultural Space Museum - was destroyed by fire after a group of tourists built a fire inside the house to cook corn without permission.

Inside the Lang house before it was destroyed by fire in 2013
Inside the Lang house before it was destroyed by fire in 2013

Before being relocated and returned to the museum in 2007, the house belonged to the last ruler in the Muong ethnic area in Chien village, Nam Son commune, Tan Lac district in northern Hoa Binh province.

Stun, anguish and pain are what Vu Duc Hieu, the museum’s director, has experienced since that day, when all of the house’s wooden frame and pillars were licked up by the flame.

What can console him is that all of the technical drawings of the house are still kept at the museum. The timber frame and floor remained, luckily. Muong constructors, who helped him relocate the house to the museum, were willing to share their understanding and rebuild the house with the original poles and wooden floors.

More encouragingly, many visitors, particularly teachers and their students, chose the fire-destroyed house to visit for their picnics as an outdoor activity to learn about safeguarding heritages. Whoever comes to the site express their concern over the loss of the house, a rare leftover of Hoa Binh province’s cultural heritage.

These things laid the foundation for Hieu’s to launch a crowd-funding campaign themed ‘Lang House-Dream of Rebirth’, targeting to raise VND 600 million (US$2,700) to bring a life again to the house from its ashes.

Sharing the same appreciation for treasured culture handed out by ancestors, ‘Lang House-Dream of Rebirth’ has become a dream of many people rather than being Hieu’s dream alone. Many groups of artists, and those working in the museum, have enthusiastically participated in the campaign, by hosting arts events, conducting auctions for their works, and organising seminars to call on donation from the public, including social network community.

Step by step, the campaign has received attention from more and more individuals and collectives, helping the dream come closer to reality. Their good will has not only helped bring back the culture and architecture of the Muong ethnic group to the museum, but has also fueled the museum’s management board to further preserve indigenous culture and provide the public with a venue for sightseeing, research and art composition.

The campaign itself is not only significant for the Muong ethnic group but also helps raise public awareness of preserving cultural heritage.

It is hoped that the story about the rebirth of Lang house will be told by more voices with echoed effect. Although it is still a long way away from reaching the targeted money, the message of the campaigned has been sent.

‘Lang House-Dream of Rebirth’ – A viewpoint from participating artists

Many more artists want to contribute their artworks

I had a chance to visit the Muong’s Cultural Space Museum. What Hieu is doing for the Lang house is rare and thus it is appreciated. We all want to make practical contributions to restore the destroyed heritage. In my opinion, the donated artworks are of high quality and I know many more artists want to contribute their works to raise fund for the campaign.

Sculptor Bui Hai Son from Ho Chi Minh City

A good start for development of Vietnam’s fine arts

It is a pity that the Lang house was burnt down! I want to share my hand to help rebuild the construction.

It is the first time I have participated in such a special crowd-funding event like this, which has brought together four generations of artists! The work I donated to the campaign was completed in 2014. I hope for involvement from businesses and Vietnamese collectors in the auctions. I believe that the campaign is also a good start for the development of Vietnam’s fine arts while nurturing the love for the arts of people.

Painter Truong Be from Hue city

Each purchaser will gain two things

I was sad to hear the news about Lang house. I highly support the auction to sell artworks to bring a rebirth to the house. I think contributing my artwork for the auction is a very normal thing I can do.

I think that each purchaser joining the auctions will gain two things at the same time: a valuable artwork and a good deed. I hope that artists, purchasers and sellers can gather together at the restored Lang house in a very near future.

Painter Dao Hai Phong from Hanoi

Lang house becomes a common heritage

I have accompanied Hieu to receive artworks for donation from artists. I am moved to see the good sentiment the donators attached in their works. I acknowledged that they are doing a favour for the next generations, for those who will be able to visit the Lang house after it is recovered.

I believed in the feasibility of the campaign. Lang house now is not only a treasure of Muong group or of the museum, but rather is a common heritage needs the help from artists and the whole community

Painter Tran Thi Thu from Hoa Binh province