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14 Local and International Illicit Traffic in Vietnamese Cultural Property: A Preliminary Investigation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a preliminary review of what is known about the illicit trade in Vietnamese cultural heritage, both within Vietnam itself and from Vietnam to key regional and international market countries. It provides a brief contextual and historical overview of Vietnam's rich cultural heritage from the Paleolithic to the present and current examples of threats to it. The chapter describes the legislative framework that has been put in place to protect that cultural heritage. It discusses the nature of the current antiquities trade, both licit and illicit, within and from Vietnam. The chapter discusses the frequency and location of looting, what looting entails in Vietnam specifically, observations of the street-level trade in urban Hanoi and observations of forgery. It concludes that policy and related changes that might be needed to offer better protection to cultural heritage both within Vietnam and its neighbors in Southeast Asia.

Keywords: antiquities trade; illicit trade; legislative framework; looting; Southeast Asia; street-level trade; Vietnamese cultural heritage



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