Parc de Keukenhof (Amsterdam)

 

Ouvert tous les ans à la même période au public pour huit semaines, le parc de Keukenhof est situé à Lisse, au sud-ouest d’Amsterdam  (Hollande). Ce parc de 32 ha est très connu non seulement pour ses tulipes mais aussi pour ses jardins thématiques.  Grâce à cette fleur, la Hollande est le premier producteur au monde avec plus de 4 milliards de bulbes vendus chaque année.

Vườn hoa tulipe Keukenhof

Open every year to the public  during the same period for eight weeks, the park of Keukenhof is located at Lisse in the southwest of Amsterdam.  This 33 hectare park is very known not only for its tulips but also for its theme gardens. Thanks to this flower, Holland is the largest world producer  with more than 4 billions bulbs sold each year.

Parc de Sceaux 2018

Công viên Sceaux

C’est l’un des parcs connus dans la région de l’île de France. Il fut conçu par le célèbre aménageur des jardins du château de Versailles, André le Nôtre à la fin du XVII  ème siècle à la demande de Colbert, ministre des finances du roi soleil Louis XIV .

 

 Đây là một trong những công viên nổi tiếng  ở vùng ngọai ô Paris. Vườn nầy được thiết kế vào cuối thế kỷ 17  bỡi ông André Le nôtre, người  được xây dựng và trang trí các vườn hoa của lầu đài Versailles với sự yêu cầu của bộ trưởng tài chính của “vua mặt trời” Louis XIV.

 

Champa sculpture ( Điêu khắc cổ Champa)

Version française

Version vietnamienne
dieu_khac_champa

Until now, one does not known precisely the ethnic origin of Cham people. Some believe that they came from the Asian mainland and were deported with the other populations living in the south of China (the Bai Yue) by the Chinese while others (ethnologists, anthropologists linguists) highlighted the insular origin through their research studies.


To sculpt a statue, it is a religious act


For these latter, the Cham were probably the people living in the Southern Ocean (archipelagic countries or that of Malaysian Peninsula).,At the legendary era, the Champa oral traditions speaking of  the linkage between Chămpa and Java, consolidate this latter hypothesis.

Known as Vikings from Southeast Asia,  Champa people lived along the coasts of center and south of Vietnam today. Their main activities were essentially based on trade. They were in contact very early with China and territories as far away as Malaysian peninsula, perhaps the coasts of South India.

Being devoted to religious purposes, the Champa sculpture thus did not escape political recupercussions and influences from outside, in particular those of India, Cambodia and Java. These ones thus became the main forces in creation, development and evolution of styles for their art. For French researcher Jean Boisselier, the Champa sculpture was very closely with the history. Significant changes have been highlighted in the development of Champa sculpture, in particular the statuary with historical events, dynastic changes or relations that  Champa   have had with its neighbouring countries (Vietnam or Cambodia). Thanks to  vietnamese researcher  Ngô văn Doanh, each time an important incidence came  from outside, one did not take long to see the emergence of  a new style in Chămpa sculpture. To achieve this,  it is sufficient to cite an example: to 11th-12th century, the intensification of violent contacts, especially with Vietnam and Cambodia and the emergence of new conceptions in relation to the foundations of royal power, can explain the originality and  richness found in Tháp Mắm style.

Pictures gallery

 

 Being the expression of the Indian pantheon (brahmaniste but especially shivaiste and Buddhist), the Cham sculpture resort to local interpretation of the concepts with elegance rather than slavish imitation. Above all, it is a support for meditation and a proof of devotion. “To sculpt a statue”, it is a religious act. Being subject to religious norms, the Cham sculptor, with his skillful hands, has succeeded in giving, with fervour, to inert stone a soul, a divine representation enabling to convey the religious concept he loved to transmit with faith. The Cham sculpture is peaceful. No scene of horror is present. There are only animal creatures slightly fanciful (lions, dragons, birds, elephants etc. . ). One could find no violent and decent form in the deities. Despite the evolution of styles throughout history, the Cham sculpture continues to keep the same divine and animal creatures in a constant theme. 

 

Makara

 The Cham art manages to keep its specificity, its facial own expression and its particular beauty without being not a slavish imitation from external models and affecting its singularity in the Hindu sculpture found in India and Southeast Asia. In spite of lack of animation and realism, Cham artworks are predominantly carved in sandstone and much more rarely in terracotta and other alloys (gold, silver, bronze etc. .. ).

Generally speaking, being in the modest dimension, they relate religious beliefs and conceptions of the world. They cannot leave us impassive because they always give us a very strange impression. It is one of the features of the beauty in the Cham art.

One finds sculptures in the round, high-reliefs and bas-reliefs in the Cham art. A “rond-bosse” is a scuplture around which we can turn to see the sculptor work . A high-relief is a sculpture having a relief very salient and it does not untie itself from the background. As for low-relief, it is a sculpture with a relief less salient on a uniform background. In the Cham sculpture, one retains the trend toward the adoption of the creatures roundness at the level of the reliefs. Few scenes are included in this sculpture. The lack of continuity or awarkness are noted at the assembly level in the opposite case.

The creatures found in the Cham sculpture tend to be always detached from space that surrounds them with brilliance. They have something monumental. Even in the case where they are grouped together (in the artworks of Mỹ Sơn, Trà Kiệu chronicling the Cham daily life ), they give us the impression that each one remains independently from others. 

One can say that the Cham sculptor is solely interested by creature he wants to show and glorify without thinking at no time to details and imperfections becoming excessively unrealistic (hand too big or Trà Kiệu dancer arm too flexed for example) and without the perfect imitation in Hindu original models, which gives to Cham sculpture the character “monumental” not found in the other sculptures. It is an another feature found in this Cham sculpture. 

The artworks are limited but they testify to a plastic beautiful quality and the expression of various religions. It is difficult to give them a same style. By contrast, some features are closely linked to tradition of Amaravati Indian art . It is only in the second half of 7th century that under the reign of Prakasadharma Vikrantavarman I king , the Champa sculpture began to take body and to reveal its originality. More reading

  • Mỹ Sơn E1 style (7th -middle 8th century)
  • (Middle  8th- middle  9th century).  Hoàn Vương period
  • Ðồng Dương style  (9th -10th century)
  • Mỹ Sơn A 1 style (10 th century)
  • Tháp Mắm style (or Bình Ðịnh style)  
  • Yang Mum and Pô Rome style ( 14th -15tn century)

Papyrus vietnamien (Giấy dó)

 

English version

Papier dó

Celles-ci sont proposées souvent dans les kiosques réservés aux touristes étrangers. Le papier dó (papier de rhamnomeuron) est utilisé dans l’impression de ces imageries. Selon certains chercheurs vietnamiens, ce papier fut apparu vers le IIIème siècle et connût son apogée du VIIIème au XIVème siècles. Hồ Qúi Ly s’en servit à la fin du XIVème  siècle pour l’impression des monnaies fiduciaires.

La production de ce papier nécessite une préparation minutieuse. Il est fabriqué avec l’écorce de l’arbre do. Après la récolte de celle-ci entre les 8è et 10è mois lunaires, on a besoin de l’immerger dans l’eau pendant un ou deux jours. On la traite ensuite en la macérant dans une solution de chaux condensée durant 5 heures. Puis on la fait bouillir

L’enfant et le coq

durant une vingtaine d’heures avant de la piler pendant 5 heures. La farine obtenue par le pilage est diluée dans une bassine remplie d’un mélange d’eau et de résine de la plante mò ( clerodendron ). Le papier est obtenu grâce à un moule après avoir été pressé et séché.

Papyrus vietnamien

Galerie des photos

Pour cent kilos d’écorce, on obtient seulement 5 ou 6 kilos de papier. Cela explique la raison pour laquelle le marché est très limité. De plus le papyrus vietnamien do ne pousse que dans les hautes régions au Nord. Connus pour la fabrication des imageries populaires sur papier do, les villageois de Dương Ô et de Ðông Hồ ont subi le même sort. Le prix de revient  dans  la production du papier recyclé est supérieur à celui de vente  du papier dó. C’est pourquoi peu de gens continuent à s’intéresser encore à ce métier ancestral qui se perd au fil des années.

Version anglaise

Those are often proposed in the kiosks reserved to  foreign tourists. Paper dó (rhamnomeuron paper) is used in the printing of these images. According to certain Vietnamese researchers, this paper had appeared around the 3rd century and knews its apogee from the 8th to the 14th century. Hồ Qúi Ly made use of it at the end of  14th century for the printing of  fiduciary currencies. The production of this paper requires a meticulous preparation.

It is manufactured with the bark of the tree dó. After the harvest of this one between the 8th and 10th lunar months, one needs to immerse it in water during one or two days. After one treats it by macerating it in a lime solution condensed during 5 hours. Then one makes it by boiling  during about twenty hours before crushing it during 5 hours. The flour obtained by crushing is diluted in a basin filled with a mixture of water and resin of the plant mò (clerodendron). Paper is obtained thanks to a mould after being pressed and  dried.

For two hundred kilos of bark, one  gets only 5 or 6 kilos of paper. That explains why the market is very limited. In addition, the Vietnamese papyrus dó grows only in the northern  highlands. Known for making popular imagery on paper dó,  villagers of Dương Ô and Đông Hồ suffered the same fate. The cost price in the production of recycled paper is higher than the selling  price  of dó paper. That is why a few people still continue to be interesting to this ancient craft that is lost over the years.

Dương Vân Nga (English version)

French version

 

 
One speaks rarely of Dương Vân Nga in the history of Vietnam. Her name is not as often cited as that of the sisters Trưng Trắc Trưng Nhị or that of Triệu Ẩu. However she was an outstanding woman, the great queen of the first two dynasties Ðinh and Tiền Lê ( anterior Lê ) of Vietnam. Her life and works can be summed up in the following four verses which have been transmitted by oral tradition to our days and left on the wall of Am Tien monastery by a mysterious monk exactly 1000 years now, at his encounter with Dương Vân Nga:

Hai vai gồng gánh hai vua
Hai triều hoàng hậu, tu chùa Am Tiên
Theo chồng đánh Tống bình Chiêm
Có công với nước, vô duyên với đời

On her two shoulders two kings were carried
Queen of two reigns, she retired in Am Tien monastery.
Accompanying her spouse, she had beaten the Song and pacified the Cham
Service she rendered to her country, yet bad luck she got in her life.

Among the ten queens of these two dynasties, she was the only one to be allowed a statue bearing her effigy. During its restoration and transfer in the temple dedicated to King Lê Ðại Hành at the beginning of the Hậu Lê dynasty the statue oozed strangely, perhaps due to it being exposed suddenly to the sun after having been put in a humid place. At that time, it was said that this phenomenon was attributed to atrocious sufferings life has reserved to Dương Vân Nga during her lifetime.

Dương Vân Nga

Her real name was Dương Thị. Vân Nga was the name attributed to her by combining the first word of the name of the region of her father Vân Long and that of her mother Nga Mỹ. She was issue of a very poor background. At her very young age she had to collect wood in the forest and fish in the river to provide to the subsistence of her family in a mountainous and uneven region which is our Hoa Lư. Early morning in the forest, late evening in the river, she became without delay a young hard working, energetic and trouble shooting girl.

She had an innate sense of organization that allowed her to become in the following years the leader of a band of young girls in the area. She arrived at coping with a rival band constituted mainly of young boys led by the buffalo tender Ðinh Bộ Lĩnh by completely disperse his herd of buffaloes by using firecrackers and by her perfect mastery of round floating baskets that helped rapid transport of her troops across swamps and streams. But Ðinh Bộ Linh finally had the last word thanks to his scheme of recourse to poles and light craft of bamboo mat to pierce and immobilize all the round floating baskets of Dương Vân Nga. From then on Ðinh Bộ Lĩnh not only conquered Duong Van Nga’s admiration but also her love. That is why nowadays to evoke conjugal union and predestined love of a couple, it is often referred to the following popular expression: Bamboo mat craft crush round floating baskets ( Thuyền tre đè thuyền thúng )

Thuyền thúng

Thanks to their association, they arrived at gathering under their banner all the young of Hoa Lu and eliminating without delay their opponents in the conquest of power. Thus Ðinh Bộ Lĩnh became the first king of the Ðinh dynasty often known as Ðinh Tiên Hoàng. He was very authoritarian. He used ranks and appointments to buy loyalty of his subordinates. He also used force and cruel and unimaginable punishments to punish his adversaries and those who dared criticize him.

Despite Dương Vân Nga’s advice, he remained unruffled and made several enemies to himself even in his family. Instead of appointing his eldest son Ðinh Liễn, the one who had helped him for several years in his fights for the unification of the country, he chose his youngest son Ðinh Hạng Lang as his crown prince. This provoked Ðinh Liễn’s jealousy and incited him to assassinate his younger brother. Dương Vân Nga was at first witness of the fratricidal fight among her children, then the death of her husband, king Ðinh Tiên Hoàng assassinated by Ðỗ Thích a crank who, after a dream, thought the kingdom should belong to him and the eldest son Ðinh Liễn killed by the rebel troops.

She soon had the pains and sufferings of her daughter, princess Phật Kim, deserted by her husband Ngô Nhật Khánh who, being one of the sons of Ngô Quyền, took refuge in Champa and requested this country to launch a maritime attack against his own land Vietnam in the goal of reconquest of power. Because of the age of her son Ðinh Toàn ( 6 years old ), she had to assume the regency with Lê Hoàn, a generalissimo, head of Vietnamese territories.

But she soon faced the armed resistance of her assassinated husband’s partisans who wanted to eliminate Lê Hoàn at any cost and also the imminent threat of the Song as well as Champa’s. She was placed in front of a dilemma that appeared to be difficult for a woman to overcome alone when she lived in a Confucian era and when Vietnam was just liberated from Chinese domination for about a dozen years. She had the courage to take a decision which appeared doubtful at that time and heavy of harmful consequences for the Dinh dynasty in yielding the throne to Le Hoan and associating with the latter in managing the Ðại Cồ Việt ( ancient Vietnam ).

Pictures gallery of Hoa Lư

This permitted Lê Hoàn to have a massive adhesion of a great part of population and restore not only the confidence but also the unity of the whole people. He thus succeeded in putting down the rebellion, wiping out the Song on the Bạch Ðằng river, starting the Nam Tiến movement ( or descent toward the South ) and restoring peace all over the country. One should place oneself in this troubling political context that Dương Vân Nga experienced in order to see that it was an act well thought out and courageous from the part of a woman who, trained up until then to be submissive to a Confucian yoke, dared accept the dishonor and scorn to assure that our country would not pass under Chinese domination and that Vietnam would not prolong in political chaos.

Her combat appeared to be more arduous than that of the Trưng Trắc Trưng Nhị sisters because it is the matter of not only a struggle against the invaders, but also her own interests, her personal sentiments for the love of this country.
During the reign of Lê Ðại Hành ( or Lê Hoàn ), she ceaselessly advised the latter to practice a politics of magnanimity towards his adversaries, to ban cruel punishments established by Ðinh Tiên Hoàng and to call on talented monks ( Khuông Việt, Ngô Chấn Lưu, Hồng Hiến, Vạn Hạnh ) to the management of the country. Being a warrior by nature, bearing the name of Great Expedition ( Ðại Hành ), he continued to enlarge Vietnam by leading not only a maritime expedition that destroyed the Cham capital Indrapura in presently Central Vietnam in 982 and killed the Cham king Bề Mi Thuế ( Paramec Varavarman ) but also a politics of pacification all over the place in the ethnic minority territories. It was in one of these battles that the last son of Dương Vân Nga and Ðinh Tiên Hoàng, Ðinh Toàn, died assassinated at the place of Lê Hoàn by the Mán. This death was followed by the suicide of her daughter, princess Phật Kim and the death by illness of her son Long Thâu that she had with Lê Ðại Hành. She was taken up by the disappearance of her entourage without complain. She preferred to live her last days in Am Tiên monastery and burry the personal sufferings of a woman facing her destiny.

Is it fair for a patriotic woman like Dương Vân Nga overwhelmed by destiny, not to be cheered and cited like the Trưng Trắc Trưng Nhị sisters in the history of our Vietnam? Is there anything to do with a deliberate omission because of a sacrilege committed by Dương Vân Nga for having married and served two kings in a feudal Confucian society which is ours? One cannot erase the truth of history especially these details, said the Chinese historian Si Ma Qian.

It is time to give back to Dương Vân Nga her notoriety and her place she deserved long time ago in our history pages and make known to future generations the courageous and full of wisdom decision. This one, even though it seemed doubtful and immoral for a Confucian society, was made in the moment where the situation exacted more than ever the cohesion and unity of the whole people facing foreign invasion, but also a man of valor and talent that was our great king Lê Ðại Hành. Without him, the Nam Tiến movement would not have taken place.

Hoa Lư (English version)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French version

Hoa Lư is the old capital of independent  Vietnam under the reign of  Ðinh,  early Lê and Lý dynasties  until  1010 before the transfert to Thăng Long. It is located in  the Red River Delta region of Vietnam. It distinguishes itself from other tourist attractions by an magnificent environment made up of 3 caves (Tam Cốc) and karstic sharpen peaks as Hạ Long bay.

Thủ đô Đại Cồ Việt

Galerie des photos

 

 

Beautiful landscapes of Vietnam

French version

 

The landscape of Vietnam is really magnificent and exceptional.  For an avid photographer, it is the ideal place where he can make beautiful pictures for  immortalizing his trip. From North to South, the landscape is so  contrasted that it is impossible to remain indifferent to the  breath-taking beauty of nature.

Pictures gallery

Phong cảnh hữu tình 

In the North, one is amazed by atonishing and majestic  peaks emerging    from clean waters and islets with various forms in  Along and Hoa Lư bays and  rice terraces used by minority ethnic groups  in the heart of the mountains (Sapa, Mộc Châu, Hà Giang). In the central region, in addition to Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng and Sơn Động  stalactite caves and world heritages of Unesco (Huế, Mỹ Sơn, Hội An),  there are beautiful beaches (Mỹ Khê, Hội An, Nha Trang ) and national parks (Yok Don, Nam Cát Tiên).  In the South, the natural beauty is no less, in particular in the Mekong delta.

Here, thanks to the hand of man, panoramas are revealed magnificent: large rice fields as far as the eye, luxuriant orchards (Bến Tre) and beautiful traditional villages along watercourses without forgetting the mangrove forest in Cà Mau peninsula.
 

Paysages du Vietnam (Phong cảnh Quê Hương)

English version

Le  paysage du Vietnam est vraiment magnifique et exceptionnel. Pour un passionné de la photographie, c’est l’endroit  idéal où on peut  faire de beaux clichés  pour immortaliser son voyage. Du nord jusqu’au sud, le paysage est tellement contrasté qu’l est impossible de rester indifférent   devant l’étonnante beauté de la nature.

Phong cảnh hữu tình 

Dans le nord, on est émerveillé par les pics ahurissants et majestueux  émergeant des eaux limpides et les îlots de formes diverses dans les baies d’Along et Hoa Lư  et par les rizières en étages pratiquées par les minorités ethniques au cœur des montagnes (Sapa, Mộc  Châu, Hà Giang). Au centre, dans les zones montagneuses et les basses plaines côtières, outre les grottes stalactites de Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng  et Sơn Động et les patrimoines mondiaux de l’Unesco (Huế, Mỹ Sơn, Hội An), il y a de belles plages d’un bleu azur ( Mỹ Khê, Hội An, Nha Trang, ) et des parcs nationaux de Yok Don et Nam Cát Tiên. Dans le sud, la beauté de la nature n’est pas moindre, en particulier dans le delta du Mékong. C’est ici que  grâce à la main de l’homme, des panoramas se révèlent magnifiques: des vastes champs de rizières à perte de vue, des vergers luxuriants (Bến Tre)  et des beaux villages traditionnels tout le long des arroyos (cours d’eau) sans  oublier la mangrove de la péninsule de Cà Mau.

 

Mandarin road (English version)

Version française

Mandarin road

If a tourist has a chance to travel by car from Saigon to Hanoï, he has got to take the “mandarin route” (or route No.1 ) as it is the only one that exists on the road network in Vietnam. We owe the name of “mandarin route” to the French who named it in 19th century because it is certain that it was the road taken by mandarins and high functionaries to travel rapidly and easily between the capital and their provinces. This route is born in the swamps of the Mekong delta infested with mosquitoes. It begins at Cà Mau and ends at the post of Ðồng Ðằn on the Sino-Vietnamese border in the region close to Lạng Sơn. It is often said that this route is the country’s backbone that looks like a sea horse. This route is 1730km long, linking several cities, in particular Saigòn, Phan Thiết, Nha Trang, Qui Nhơn, Hội An, Ðà Nẵng, Huế, Ðồng Hới, Hà Tịnh, Thanh Hóa and Hanoï.

It is generally covered with asphalt, but often on some sections, it was badly paved and weighed down by a multitude of trucks, bicycles, pedestrians, buffaloes, cows, and troops of ducks walking on. The bitumen breaks often, causing the grandmother perching side-saddle on the baggage carrier and girls leaning on too big bikes, to jump. Those are the familiar scenes often encountered on this road.

One also finds harvested rice and manioc left to dry on asphalt heated by the sun in the North. On this route, one can see on a side of Sa Huynh, the salt fields or mounds of salt recovered from the foliage and set up alongside of the road. The further one goes north, the more one sees peaceful landscapes of flooded rice paddies.

One often crosses children leading herds of buffaloes daubed with mud. At the edge of Hoa Lư, the ancient capital of Viet Nam, the silhouettes of rocky hills emerge from the bluish mist.

Despite its bad condition especially in North Vietnam, it continues to be the axle road vital to Vietnam. For those who like to know the history of Vietnam, the history of the long march toward the South, it is suggested that this route be borrowed because one would find not only the vestiges of a lost civilization in the whirlwind of history, the kingdom of Champa,but also the marks and traces that Vietnamese settlers, for the past decades, succeeded in carving during their passage.

Pictures gallery

Quốc lộ số 1

To know this route is to know not only the immense rice paddies, rubber tree plantations, beautiful sightseeing points on the coast of Vietnam, very beautiful panoramic views from one delta to another, superbs passes (in particular the Hải Vân pass) and wooded hills, almost desolate waste lands, but also an intensity of a Vietnamese agricultural life through hamlets located alongside of the route.

 

To know this route is to also know the Hiền Lương bridge. It was built by the French in 1950, destroyed by an American airplane in 1967, 178 meters long. It certainly evokes an episode when Viet Nam was divided and when one-half of the bridge was painted red and the other half yellow. It is located at the 17th parallel, in a zone where one of its sections, known during the Indochina war as “the Road without Joy” as French troops encountered fierce resistence there.

To know this route is to know the Hải Vân pass. It is located at 28km north of Ðà Nẫng ( or Tourane ) and only 495m high. As its name indicates, it is always in the clouds because it is close to the sea, which allows it to receive important masses of humid air. In the old days, it marked the frontier between the North and the South and protected the Chams from the Vietnamese appetite for land.

Composer Phạm Duy has evoked this route through his work entitled “Con Ðường Cái Quan“.