Nguyen Huu Triet, a bishop of Tan Chau Sa Parish in Ho Chi Minh City , has spent over 15 years collecting 1,300 antique lamps dating back to thousands of years ago.

“In the old days, our ancestors used images of lamps and books as symbols of study. Meanwhile, the light has been seen as the spirit of Catholicism. Therefore, I want to build up a lamp collection to understand more about the cultural life,” Bishop Triet said.

Among the lamps, made in different countries such as France , Germany , Japan , China and India , the oldest one belonged to the Dong Son era in Vietnam dating back 2,000-2,500 years ago.

With simple designs, the lamps, made from various materials such as iron, porcelain or glass, are not only works of art but also present the cultural development of eras that they belong to.

“Each era, each country and people have their own way to keep the flame, which is proven through the diversity in lamp design. Although modern people are used to electricity, the lamps are still lit as a symbol for the spiritual light of humanity,” the collector said.

Bishop Triet is continuing his travels to enrich the collection and many people have presented him with lamps or informed him where lamps may exist.

With a thought that, “human existence is short like a lamp’s, so we have to lead a meaningful life,” Bishop Triet wishes to present the collection to the church to preserve cultural values for following generations./.