Exhibition showcases secrets of Muong cultural and spiritual life hinh anh 1Artist Bui Hoang Duong (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA)
- The secrets of spiritual culture and life of the Muong ethnic minority in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa will be revealed at an exhibition titled Mo Muong to be held later this week.

The exhibition will display 35 paintings and two installations by Bui Hoang Duong, a Muong artist from Thanh Hoa.

It features the Mo Muong – a popular ritual ceremony which has become the unique cultural heritage of the Muong ethnic community in Thanh Hoa and many other provinces in the northern mountainous region.

Mo Muong is a job and also a performance practiced at funerals, religious festivals, and life cycle rituals by the ethnic Muong sorcerers.

Duong said he was born in a family with generations of practicing the Muong prayers. His great-grandfather recited the prayers but since he passed away in 1954, the practice no longer remained in the family. However, many of his followers tried to preserve it.

The artist said his exhibition was aimed to help promote and preserve the unique cultural value of the Muong.

"About 10 years ago, many people did not understand Muong prayers, so considered them a kind of superstition due to the wrong methods of some local shamans. Actually, the Muong prayers are all about morality, ethics and doctrines of humanity and life that teach people about good personality, social behaviour and filial piety. Many practitioners now understand they have a responsibility to lead the nation in the best spiritual direction, maintain and protect the cultural foundations," said Duong.

Duong, who has travelled extensively throughout the country and abroad since 2000, has a deep and endless affection for social life, humans and animals particularly dogs which appear in many of his works displayed in this exhibition.

This is Duong's fourth solo exhibition since 2007. His latest group exhibition was XOM, which took place in Hanoi last August.

He chose this time to open the display as it was safer since COVID-19 impacted the whole art and culture sector. The artist said he spent almost a year preparing for it and hoped he would help preserve the Muong epic poem "Land and Water".

Through the generations, the Muong prayers have been passed down verbally in the community. When they’re collected, translated, and published in books, however, they begin to exist separately from people.

These days, most Muong prayers are called "Mo Muong". They are a collection of verses recited at traditional Muong funerals. 

Each Muong community has its own version of prayers, but they are all fairly similar. The existence of various versions of "Mo Muong" has helped expand the heritage and spiritual life of the Muong people.

The Mo Muong exhibition will open between April 24-28 at the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum at 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc street, Hanoi./.