|The front gate of the Khmer Culture Exhibition House in Soc Trang province (Photo: Ngoc Anh)
The exhibition house was formerly the Soc Trang-Khmer Culture Gallery. Thach Thi Loan, an exhibition tour guide, said, “The house was built in 1936 and inaugurated in 1941. Formerly known as Samacum Association, it was a meeting venue for monks in the Mekong Delta. In 2002, it was merged with the provincial Museum and named the Khmer Culture Exhibition House."
The artifacts are displayed into three themes: daily life, religion, and culture and festival. Here we have more than 400 artifacts. In the summer, a lot of students come here. Foreign tourists, mostly from the Netherlands, Italy, and Japan, also love to explore the Khmer culture here, said Ms. Loan.
|A miniature of the main hall of A pagoda. (Photo: Ngoc Anh)
More than half of the artifacts were donated by Khmer people. The diverse items include miniatures of stilt houses, traditional Khmer costumes, and simple handcrafted agricultural tools, such as plows, harrows, axes, rice harvest rings made of buffalo horn and decorated with geometric images.
In addition to daily life and religious items, the exhibition also has miniatures of Ro Bam and Du Ke performance stage. The two art forms were recognized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage.
There is a miniature of the main hall of Kh'Leang pagoda, a national architectural and artistic relic site.
Son Thanh Liem, Deputy Director of the Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Soc Trang province, talked about the Ngo boats displayed at the exhibition and the Ngo boat race Festival, “On the full-moon day of the 10th lunar month, we organize the Ngo boat race. In 2005, the festival won the Vietnam Guinness Records for having the biggest number of boats and athletes. The exhibition house displays several production tools, fine art and handicraft products, Khmer pagoda’s architecture, and art performance of Du Ke and Ro bam.”
|A miniature of the Du Ke stage. (Photo: Ngoc Anh)
The exhibition house of Khmer Culture is designed as a Khmer pagoda. Quach Thi Nghia, a tourist from Hanoi, said, “The artifacts are diverse and unique, which are displayed scientifically. This is the first time I saw the La Buong Sutra, showing the typical sculpture art of the Khmer. The Khmer people have a developed culture. I wish there will be more galleries like this for tourists to learn more about Khmer culture.”
The Khmer Culture Exhibition House, which offers a panoramic view of the Khmer culture from the past to present, is a popular tourist destination besides many pagodas in Soc Trang province.