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Experts suggest replacing old, deteriorating statues in Vietnam

A statue of Tran Nguyen Han, a Vietnamese general, in front of Ben Thanh market. Han's right leg is clearly broken. Photo: Nguoi Lao Dong

any experts have recommended that Ho Chi Minh City authorities replace old and crumbling city statues with new ones.

The suggestions came after the right leg of the statue of General Tran Nguyen Han, who helped Emperor Le Loi defeat China's Ming army and established the Later Le Dynasty (1428-1788), broke off on Saturday (July 27) after more than 35 years of rain and sunlight.

The statue, which depicts Gen. Han riding a horse while lifting a dove with his right hand, stands at the roundabout in front of the Ben Thanh Market in District 1. 

HCMC now has 12 statues built before 1975 and most of them have been damaged, decayed and may collapse, according the city's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The statue of Han has already been repaired many times.

The color on the statue of Vietnamese patriot Phan Dinh Phung (1847-1895) in District 5 is severely faded and deteriorating, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported Monday (July 29).

The statues of King An Duong Vuong, the ruler of the ancient kingdom of Au Lac (257-207 B.C.), in District 10, and Phu Dong Thien Vuong (The Genie of Phu Dong), one of the four immortal saints in Vietnamese beliefs, in District 1, have also experienced a great deterioration in color, the report said.

An old man passing part of General Tran Nguyen Han's broken statue in HCMC. Photo: Nguoi Lao Dong 

Painter Uyen Huy, chairman of the Fine Arts Association of HCMC, said the statues were built hastily before 1975 by the South Vietnam government to commemorate its armed forces day June 19, 1973.

Sculptor Phan Gia Huong, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association, said the statures look like enlarged handicrafts rather than monuments.  

But the artists' suggestions to replace the old statues with new ones have been criticized netizens who say that they should be restored rather than replaced as they have existed for a long time and remain in the citizens' minds as part of the city's culture.

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