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At the suggestion of Do Tuong Linh, two members of the Hue team (William Ma and Linh) participated in the 10th Engaging with Vietnam conference, “Beyond Dichotomies: Vietnam from Multiple Perspectives,” at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City from December 15-16, 2018. An international gathering of scholars of Vietnam, the conference was an opportunity to meet and network with our peers and to introduce our preliminary works to the field. Our panel was entitled “Beyond Past and Present.”

William Ma’s paper “Willows on the Wall: Reading and Theorizing the Complex Network of Cultural Encounters on Blue-and-White Plates at the Nguyen Tomb of Prince Kien Thai Vuong (1845-1876)” explores different ways of framing and contexualizing the ornamental programs at a Nguyen imperial burial outside of Hue. Linh’s presentation “Crafting Modernities, Conceptualizing Traditions” looks at the process and interaction between village workshops and Western influence of craft in the case of lacquer paintings from the French colonial period to modern day.

The Da-Nang-based Vietnamese-American contemporary lacquer/installation artist Oanh Phi Phi and the French art historian Marion Duquerroy from the University of Paris rounded off the panel.

Title page from “Engaging with Vietnam.”

Post-conference relaxation.