Friday, 2 December 2016

The Mother Goddesses Tradition | UNESCO


The Việt beliefs in the Mother Goddesses of Three Realms, also known as Đạo Mẫu, was inscribed on December 1, 2016 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

And the inscription comes as an important chapter in my 18+ months journey documenting this indigenous belief system which I stumbled across during a photo expedition in northern Vietnam in September 2014. It also serves to underscore the importance of this tradition to the millions of Vietnamese who flock to it for their spiritual needs, and to gain help in achieving good health and success in their communities, occupations and social circles.

I am proud to have launched my photo book Hầu Đồng: The Spirit Mediums of Viet Nam in Hanoi just 3 weeks before the formal announcement, and contributed in a small way to the anticipatory buzz of the mystical world of Đạo Mẫu and Hầu Đồng.

My three photo talks and my photo book were written of in more than 18 different newspapers and other publications, shown on various television programs, and I had no less than 4 television appearances/interviews including some that involved my photographing Hầu Đồng ceremonies with tv cameras trailing me.


I guess timing is everything. Had the UNESCO inscription taken place at the end of 2015, I would have missed the "hoopla" boat, and my book and talks may have had much less media traction than what I experienced earlier this month.

Rather than rewrite the back story on how and why I started this photo book, this older post will provide a detailed explanation.