The Culture

Ancestor Worship - Architecture - Arts Music Traditional - Cao Daism - Lifestyle - Literature - Media Cinema - Government & Economy - Lacquerware ceramics - Painting Sculpture Population - Religion - Sport - The National Psyche - Theatre Puppetry - The People Of Vietnam - Women In Vietnam


The Vietnamese have not been prolific builders like their Khmer neighbours, who erected the monuments of Angkor in Cambodia, and the Chams, whose graceful brick towers adorn many parts of the southern half of the country. For more on the Chams. check out the boxed text on or follow in their footsteps.Traditionally, most Vietnamese constructions were made of wood and other materials that decayed in the tropical climate. This, coupled with the fact that almost all stone structures arected by the Vietnamese have been destroyed in countless feudal wars and invasions, means that very little premodern Vietnamese architecture remains. Plenty of pagodas and temples founded hundreds of years ago are still functioning, but they have usually been rebuilt many times with little concern for the original. As a result, many modern elements have been casually introduced into pagoda architecture - those garish neon haloes for statues of Buddha are a shining example. Thanks to the custom of ancestor worship, many graves from previous centuries survive today. These include temples erected in memory of high ranking mandarins, royal-family members and emperors. Memorials for Viet namese who died in the wars against the Chinese, French and Americans usually contain cement obelisks inscribed with the words to quoc ghi cong ('the country will remember their exploits' ).