Vietnam Time

8/29/2018 7:44:00 AM

Binh Phuoc announces recognition of lithophone as national treasure

The southern province of Binh Phuoc announced the Prime Minister’s decision to recognise an ancient Loc Hoa lithophone as a national treasure during a ceremony in the provincial museum on August 28.

A musician performs on ancient Loc Hoa lithophone. (Photo: VNA)

The lithophone, found by a local farmer in 1996, is among 24 artifact sets honoured as national treasures by the PM in the sixth series of recognition last year.

Bui Huu Trieu was digging in his garden in Village Eight, Loc Hoa Commune, Loc Ninh District, when he found 12 pieces of an ancient musical instrument lying next to each other in size order.  After informing the communal authorities about it, he continued to discover another 14 pieces of the instrument.

Since its discovery, the Loc Hoa Lithophone has been studied by many state agencies, as well as experts both at home and overseas, who believe the instrument was created by ancient peoples more than 3,000 years ago.

The recognition of the Loc Hoa lithophone as a national treasure shows the distinctive culture of the ancient Vietnamese in Binh Phuoc, said Deputy Director of the Binh Phuoc Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Do Minh Trung at the event.

Pham Huu Hien, Deputy Director of the Musuem of Binh Phuoc said the museum will exhibit the lithophone for public view, adding that it will promptly draw up plans to safeguard the artifact and promote its value.

The lithophone is an ancient musical instrument made from slabs of stone. The instrument is made of stone slabs of different sizes. The long, thick slabs sound bass notes, while the short, small, thin ones sound the higher notes.

The ancient people from the various mountainous regions in Southern Central and Southeastern Vietnam used the available rocks to create instruments.

Evidence of the lithophone dates back 10,000 years.

In 1956 a second set of rock gongs was discovered and brought to a New York exhibition by an American military officer.

Vietnamese archaeologists have been collecting and researching these stone instruments since 1979.

The third set was found in Lam Dong province in 1980. The instruments were preserved by a Ma ethnic family for seven generations.

In the early 1990s, 200 musical stone slabs were discovered in Dak Lak, Khanh Hoa, Dong Nai, Ninh Thuan, Lam Dong, Binh Phuoc, Song Be and Phu Yen. Each instrument set contains three to 15 pieces.

The most famous sets of stone instruments are named after the places where they were discovered, which include Khanh Son, Bac Ai, Tuy An and Binh Da./.

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