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Policies and Actions

Viet Nam

National level agency/organisation dedicated to preservation and promotion of traditional/folk performing arts

- Institute of Folklore (Centre of Social Science and Humanity)
- Association of Vietnamese Folklorists
- Institute of Musicology (Ministry of Culture and Information)
- Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies (Ministry of Culture and Information)
- Radio the Voice of Vietnam

Prominent NGOs working in this field

Association of Vietnamese Folklorists

Brief chronology-history

-In the Department of Arts, Ministry of Culture established various specialized sections for collecting and studying traditional/folk performing arts:
*Section of Music
*Section of Dance
*Section of Traditional Theatre Cheo
*Section of Traditional Theatre Tuong
*Section of Traditional Theatre Cai Luong

Following colleges were opened:
- The College of Music in Hanoi, in which there is a faculty for playing traditional musical instruments.
- The College of Theatre, in which students are trained for traditional Theatres Cheo, Tuong and Cai Luong.
- The College of Dance in which there is a faculty for traditional/folk dance.

- The National Traditional Music and Dance Ensemble was established.
- Two National Traditional Theatres for Cheo, Tuong and Cai Luong were established.
- Two Regional Traditional Music and Dance Ensembles were created in Northern and North-Western regions.
- The Music and Dance Ensemble of the Highland's minorities and the Folk-song Ensemble of Fifth Region were created.
The repertory of above mentioned Ensembles and Theatres consist mostly of the traditional/folk items.

- First National Festival - Competition of traditional/folk music and dance.
- The Traditional Music and Dance Ensembles were established in each province of Northern Viet Nam.
- The National Orchestra of Traditional Instruments was established.

- Two Regional High Schools of Traditional Music and Dance were established in Northern and North-western regions.

- The Association of Vietnamese Folklorists was established. Its aims are collection, studying, training and dissemination of folklore values including various kinds of folk performing arts.

-Second National Festival - Competition of Traditional/folk Music and Dance.

- The Research Institute of Arts, in which there are sections for Music, Dance, and Traditional Theatres Cheo, Tuong and Cai Luong, was established.

- The Folk-song Ensemble Quan Ho was established in Bac Ninh province, where is homeland of Quan ho singing.

-The Research Institute of Arts was reorganized, and each of its former Sections became a specialized Institute:
*Institute of Music and Dance
*Institute of Theatre
*Institute of Fine Arts
- Shooting and recording all that remains of former court music and dance in Hue.
- The Ensembles of Music and Dance in Southern Viet Nam was established.
- The High School of Music and Dance was established in provinces where the minorities are living.

Preservation and Promotion of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hue Region in Hue. In the last Meeting the Japanese Professors Tokumaru and Yamaguchi together with Professor Jose Maceda from Philippines and Professor Tran Van Khe (Viet Nam)initiated a project for Restoration and Promotion of Nha Nhac - a kind of former Court Music In Viet Nam.

-Thanks to sponsor of Japan Foundation and Sumitomo Foundation of Japan, the project of Nha Nhac was realised:
*Research Team, led by Prof. Tokumaru and Prof. Yamaguchi collected and studied the remaining parts of former Nha Nhac in Hue.
*Opened a Nha Nhac class in Hue College of Arts for 20 students to pass down the Nha Nhac to younger generation.
*A field-work team, led by Prof. To Ngoc Thanh collected the remaining materials of Nha Nhac in Hue and in adjoining area.

-A national program of General Investigation of Remaining Intangible Cultural Heritage of Viet Nam's Ethnic Groups was improved by Government. The Ministry of Culture and Information is appointed to realize this program until year 2020.
-National Workshop on Documentation of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Viet Nam's People, held by ACCU in Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies (VICAS), Hanoi, January 1996.

2000: The AVF approved with timetable action plan the Strategic National Program titled View toward 2010 aiming a collecting program all remaining until now expressions and events of intangible cultural heritage of 54 Vietnam's ethnic groups. Each from 64 provincial branchs of AVF has the targets that (i), Marking inventory and listing all existing until now expressions and events of intangible cultural heritage in own provincial terrifory (ii) Action plan for collection those assets (iii) Estimated budget (iv) Demands about expert's resource.(v) Technological equipment.
In collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Information, the Standing Committee of AVF has approved all 64 provincial program and conducted the realization throughout country since 2002.

2001: Following the idea and Recommendation of UNESCO on the Living Human Treasures, the AVF award with Honor title The National Master of Folklore to famous - eminent performers, bearers, informers from different fields of intangible cultural heritage such as:
- Oral tradition of folk - literature.
- Traditional custom and ceremonies - festivals.
- All kinds of performing arts (music, dance, theatre, epic singing - telling, puppetry and so on).
- All kinds of dizignal and fine arts ( painting, graphic, sculpture, decoration, brodery, folk architecture, all kinds of applying arts so on).
- All kinds of handicrafts, culinary culture and folk medecinal experience - tradition.
From the applications of 64 own branchs until now (at the end of 2003) the Scientific Council of AVF has awarded with the Honor title The National Master of Folklore to 23 Masters.

2004: The Vietnam Musicology Institute has completed the computerized system of Data Bank on folk - traditional music of Vietnam. Please, visit website:

2004 - March: The Departmen for Cultural Herifage of Ministry of Culture and Information in collaboration with AVF have completed some actions as follow:
- Translated in to Vietnamese the Convention for safeguarding Intangible Cultural Herifage of UNESCO.
- Completed and sent to UNESCO the form Request for Assitance in Preparing Candidature File for Third Proclamation of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Legislation in this field

Law of Preservation and Promotion of Cultural National Heritage is now waiting for approval of National Assembly. (Not yet enacted)

a- The name of the Law: Law for Cultural Heritage
b- Approved by National Assembly at its 09 Session - June - 2001.
c- The Law enacts on all kinds of tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Vietnam.
d- Not avaiable at the moment. I will send you later. (The translation is on going).

According to the Government's Policy, Cultural Heritage including folk/performing arts, is considered as cultural assets and it should be preserved and promoted. At recent moment (since 1996)each year the State Budget delivered approximately 300,000 USD for the National Program General Investigation of Remaining Intangible Cultural Heritages of Vietnam's Ethnic Groups.

Category/types of performing arts

-Folk/traditional music includes various genres of folk-song singing and performing musical instruments, the vocal and instrumental of the former court music.
-Folk/traditional dances includes both the folk-dances and the Court-Dance.
-Games performed in ceremonies and agricultural festivals.
-Various kinds of puppetry, especially the water puppetry.
-Traditional classical singing theaters Cheo, Tuong and Cai Luong of Viet majority, the Za Hai theatre of Tay minority, Ro Bam theatre of Southern-Vietnam Khmer minority.
-Epic telling-singing of some Highland minorities such as Khan (Rhade), H'ri (Jarai), H'amon (Bahnar), Ot N'rong (M'Nong), Akhat Jucar (Rak Glei)and minorities in the North such as Tetat Tedak (Muong), Mo Then (Thai).
-The Music and Song of Amateur of Southern Viet Majority people.
-The Music and song of Hue of Hue area's people.
-The Quan Ho alternating singing of 49 villages from Bac Ninh province (Northern Vietnam).
-The Ca Tru singing with instrumental accompaniment - a kind of chamber music of the North.
-Several kinds of ritual, ceremonial songs and dances which demand artistic virtuosity.
-Various kinds of religious manifestations presented in ceremonies of Buddhism, Islamism, Christianity, Taoism, Animism and cult to ancestors.

- Musico - cultural activities concerning the life of a man/ woman such as: music for fetching new - born baby, lullaby, children's songs, dances - games and story - felling, courtship alternating singging between girls and boys, music for celebration of new - build house, marriage - wedding music, shamanic - curring music, music for funeral ceremony.

- Musico - cultural activities concerning the growing up process of cultivated plants such as: Music in Springtime ceremony for prosperity of cultivated plants, domestic animals and people, Music - dance in crop season ceremony, Music - dance in Praying ceremony for peaceful growing up of cultivated plants, Music in ceremony for rippen rice and harvest, Music for closing granary storage's door and praying to the Spirit of Rice Mother.

- Musico - cultural activities concerning various kinds of people's belief such as: Ceremony for cult to tutelary genius of village, Music for praying rainfall, Music for shamanic gods and medium and so on.


There are inventories of intangible cultural heritage existing in territory of 64 provinces throughout the country. These inventories were completed by 64 provincial branchs of AVF, but not published yet.

Audio・visual documentation collection

In the archives of Institute of Folklore, Institute of Musicology, Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies.

Form of documentation: CD-ROM, photograph, audio cassette, video cassette, compact disc.

Aspects of traditional/folk performing arts in education

In curriculum of:
- Primary and Secondary schools.
- Faculty of Philology-Universities.
- Specialized Educational Institutes such as Conservatory, Institute of theatre, High School of Choreography.

Data provider

Dr. To Ngoc Thanh
Secretary General
Vietnam Union of Literature and Arts Associations
Address: No.51, Tran Hung Dao Street, Hanoi, Viet Nam