​Fury over replica of ‘sacred’ statue of Vietnamese goddess

A company behind a statue under construction on top of the holy Sam Mountain in the southern province of An Giang is sparking fury for attempting to replicate a ‘sacred’ statue of a local goddess without public knowledge. The original statue is of Ba Chua Xu (Holy Mother of the Realm), a prosperity goddess in local folk religion who is a tutelary of business, health, and a protector of the Vietnamese border. She is rumored to be responsive to loyal followers, and is worshipped in her shrine located at the foot of the mountain. Legend has it that her statue once sat at atop Sam Mountain, before being relocated to the current location in the early 18th century. Both popular tourist attractions in An Giang, the Sam Mountain and the shrine of Ba Chua Xu welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, especially during a three-day festival held in the goddess’ honor every year beginning on the twenty-third day of the fourth lunar month. Locals in An Giang were therefore surprised to learn only recently that another statue of Ba Chua Xu was being constructed on top of the Sam Mountain, where the original sculpture used to sit, without prior public announcement. “It’s not only a copyright violation but also infringes upon a national relic,” said Nguyen Van Dong, deputy director of the management board of Sam Mountain relics. According to Dong, he had not been informed of any ongoing construction of a Ba Chua Xu statue on the Sam… [Read full story]

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