This year saw Viet Nam achieve major success in the 2006 UNESCO Seal of Excellence in Handicrafts (SEAL), with three craft product lines from the country receiving honours.
They include the Three Ceramic Vases by Tran Minh Kinh Ceramic Workshop, Bat Trang Pottery Vases by Chuc Hung Ceramics, and the Fruit and Wine Lacquer Bowl by Kim Ma Lacquer Art.
Chu Shiu-kee, head of UNESCO’s Ha Noi office said: "I would like to congratulate Viet Nam on this remarkable success. This is a ‘seal of approval’ which guarantees that the Vietnamese handicraft products conform to rigorous international standards and have potential on the world market."
Vietnamese craft products, together with those from other countries which have received the SEAL, will be listed on the ASEAN Handicraft Promotion and Development Association (AHPADA) electronic database and e-commerce website for promotional and marketing purposes.
Orders for products awarded the SEAL can be placed on this website, for the AHPADA to forward to the producers.
Established to encourage craft-workers to use traditional skills and materials, the SEAL looks to ensure the continuation of traditional knowledge and the preservation of cultural diversity in the region.
Submissions are reviewed against six key criteria: excellence, innovation, authenticity, marketability, eco-friendliness and social responsibility.
By recognising such attributes in craftsmanship, the programme aims to set quality standards, raise international awareness and strengthen market demand for Asian handicraft products.
The programme was established in Southeast Asia in 2001 by UNESCO and the AHPADA and was expanded to Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkm-enistan) and South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) in 2004.
With 129 submissions received from Southeast Asia this year, the expert panel for this sub-region spent two full days at the Support Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand in Ayutthaya to examine a diverse range of craftworks, with entries ranging from traditionally woven textiles to contemporary batiks and ceramics. — VNS
Reprinted with permission from Vietnam News Agency