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Splashing colour into HaNoiís hidden alleys
By: Quynh Hoa

Unbearable likeness: Duc poses next to his portrait.
Hidden away deep in the laneways of Ha Noi thereremain places that give visitors a more complete impression of the city, its culture and its history.

Ha Noiís reputation as a unique and fascinating urban centre has spread far beyond the countryís borders, and the city is attracting ever-greater numbers of intrigued foreigners.

Hoping to draw attention to the traditional culture of Viet Nam, many of these out-of-the-way places have joined the Ha Noi Federation of UNESCO Cultural Clubs.

Brave faces: Visitors are attracted to Ducís special collections of antique art.
VNS Photos Viet Thanh
The stilt house of painter and antique collector Nguyen Manh Duc is just one of these hidden gems.

On a small laneway just off Buoi Road, the stilt house is a favourite place for local and foreign artists to drop in.

"People come to my stilt house to see, purchase and discuss my abundant collection of antique art, or to learn more about ancient cultures," he said.

"Along with my valuable antique bottles, statues (particularly Cham works), porcelain, pottery and paintings from all over the country, I have also art works that are not too old, but are lovely and affordable.

"This is why my stilt house is always crowded with visitors and artists."

A recent musical performance at Duc's place
Ducís house has also played host to events such as intimate music nights with talented young singers like My Linh and Tran Thu Ha.

The collector is the third son of the writer Kim Lan, and the younger brother of the well-known painter and art collector Thanh Chuong.

Although he graduated from the Department of Lacquer at the College of Fine Arts, most people know Duc as an expert at restoring antique statues and making art reproductions.

"Iím presently busy restoring an old house that was built late in the Nguyen Dynasty. Itís hard and time-consuming, but I still want to finish the work and make my contribution to the preservation of our special culture."

Reprinted with permission from VietNam News.


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