Vietnamese Women’s Museum

During my visit to Hanoi Vietnam I came across the Vietnamese Women’s Museum (VWM). The museum has a wealth of information about the lives of Vietnamese women.

First off, it is very nice to get an air conditioned break from the heat. Secondly, there is not a crowd at the museum. Yea me!

I first see a very informative exhibit on marriage and patrilineal (men make the decisions) vs matrilineal (elder women make the decisions) societies in Vietnam. There is a mix of both in Vietnam, mostly depending on what region the group lives. I learn about the varying customs that different groups follow.

I love the exhibit on marriage and birth traditions.

Matrimonial tent
Birth traditions video

I enjoy the demonstrations of tools and cooking methods.

Mother Goddess

One of the temporary exhibitions is a mother goddess exhibit. It describes the practice and rituals of worshiping mother goddess by traditional Vietnamese.

This exhibit reminded me slightly of Candomblé, the afro-Portuguese religion where worshipers would take on the personas of deities in a trance-like state (I witnessed a ceremony when visiting Brazil many years ago).

The third dame: Third mother goddess in white robe
Costumes of incarnation of dieties

Women during the Vietnam war.

Another floor has an exhibit on how important women were during the Vietnam war.

Fake identity cards

Women were instrumental in creating human bridges that would make it possible to carry wounded across waterways when it was flooded.

Vietnamese women were skilled in sneaking private documents behind enemy lines. There is an exhibit on the ways women used to sneak documents. Women would walk around unnoticed during the war and were often employed in this capacity.

Textiles

A final impressive exhibit is the display of the different attire of Vietnam. I love seeing the different colors and styles throughout different regions.

Very nice way to spend an afternoon.

related post: More Hanoi

Hermès In Motion

People who know me know I have very little interest in high fashion. I sometimes crave nicer things but I don’t usually see the cost benefit for spending a ton of money on an item I can get more affordably without a label. For this reason I am surprised I am so happy to come upon a Hermès exhibit outside the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam this past October. (October 25)

The actual exhibit is called In Motion and features Hermès designed items to travel and motion. This exhibit is right up my alley with bikes, roller skates, picnic gear, and hidden flasks. It is very enjoyable to see all fancy things related to travel.

Insulated Flask 1936
Nesting Beakers 19th century
Early 20th Century flask. There is a demonstration video on its use.
2018 Skateboard
2018 Rollerskates

Hermès In Motion is a high fashion event that is just my style. It is a nice little air conditioned exhibit that was definitely worth the hour or so.

Egyptian Museum

Cairo has undertaken in multi year project to build a new Egyptian museum. The new museum will be very large and contain everything at the current Egyptian museum plus more. I have heard that items have been transitioning to the new Egyptian museum. In fact some stuff has already moved which led me to have anxiety about whether or not the king Tut’s exhibit was still on display. I tried to research before hand came up empty handed with any details of what actually exists in the old museum. I am pleasantly surprised to find the king Tut exhibit is still at the old Museum so I can see it in all it’s glory (more on that later).

Time is limited so we do a quick tour of some important items downstairs. One could spend days here but we were lucky we at least had a tour guide to point out some hot things.

I purposely changed the lighting in his photo so you would notice the “i stole someone’s soul and will steal more” eyes in the statue.

I love me some scarabs

King Tutankhamen

I will not go into all the details on King Tutankhamen but basically he ascended to the throne very young and ended up dying super early. In fact he died so early that he did not have a proper tomb ready for him. His rushed burial led to an inconspicuous tomb site which probably led to it being so intact after all those years. Some looting had occurred but everything was still untouched in the sealed back chamber. This find in the 1920’s remains the most important find of this type.

Contains the important organs

One of the box in a boxes

Box to hold the box

More boxes. Like Russian nesting dolls.

The most spectacular part of the exhibit were the jewels on display. The detail on all the different pieces were amazing. There were no photos inside but I am sure photos can be found online.

Before I left I tried to explore some more. I didn’t get very far. This museum is definitely worth a return – or return when the new museum finally opens.

“You have a knife in your bag”

When visiting the Egyptian museum you get checked through security twice: once when you enter and once when you leave. I imagine the X-ray at the exit is to make sure you have not stolen anything. After spending a couple hours with my tour guide in the museum, we are given some free time to wander around. After spending extra time at the exhibits that peeked my interest I headed to the exit to meet with the tour guide and wait for the others. I put my bag on the X-ray belt and walked through the exit. Security singles me out and asks me about the knife in my bag. What knife in my bag? I know I have a wine bottle opener in my backpack in the hotel but there isn’t anything closely resembling a knife in my day pack. When I say to him there is no chance he points to the X-ray screen with my bag and very clearly an outline of the knife. I am confused. I tell him I have no idea what that is. There are some slight smiles and then they say they’ll run the bag through again. The second time it comes up clean. More smiles from the security guards and I am on my way. I am very confused. One must assume that they have this knife trick they play on gullible looking tourists to make their job more interesting. That was weird end to my visit but the important thing is that there is no knife in my bag.

Ephesus Archaeological Museum

One nice place to enjoy some air conditioning and look at artifacts from local ruins ( at least the ones they were able to get back from other countries) is the Ephesus Museum.

The mother goddess is big here due to the artifacts from the Artemis temple.

There are many statues and pieces from areas nearby. Some are very phallic in nature.

Worth a stop by for a couple hours.

Guggenheim Bilbao

The Guggenheim was amazing as expected but limited photography was allowed inside. Here is just a taste.

Jenny Holzer is one powerful artist. If you can get a chance to see her work do so. She creates very provocative exhibits that have powerful messages. Here is just a little bit of what I can share.

One of her latest is a series of redacted pages from the Mueller report that are turned into pieces of art. Very interesting work.

I finished up my visit with a tapas snack at the outdoor cafe.

The Guggenheim is a must visit. Buy your tickets ahead of time to save a line when you arrive.