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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

The Fine Arts Museum

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Near Ben Thanh Market and located in central Ho Chi Minh City is the Fine Arts Museum. After all the buzz and activity of the city with its motorcycle packed streets, this museum is a welcoming haven of quiet.

The Fine Arts Museum

Constructed between 1929 and 1934, this colonial-era mansion was owned by a Chinese-born businessman affectionately known as Uncle Hoa. Uncle Hoa was one of the 4 richest men of Saigon and he also owned other famous buildings in town like The Hotel Majestic and Tu Du Hospital.

Walking into the mansion

The building is a combination of French Colonial and Chinese styles of architecture. Its marble floors and large airy rooms bring about a typical colonial feeling as you walk through. The building itself is considered a work of art. Straight ahead you see one of Saigon's first wooden elevators.

 

Billy and statue. Billy is on the right

There is a large breezeway where one can look at the gardens below and this is where this statue is located. The wall behind Billy is hand painted and is a piece of art in itself.

Breezeway

Looking from one end to the other you can enjoy the archways and the painted wall at the other end. This is a very pleasant spot to just sit and contemplate all that you have already seen in the museum, and to appreciate the intricacy of the painted walls that lead to this location.

Lacquerware and eggshell painting

This lacquerware painting is from centuries past. The horse and the people's head wear are all done in eggshell.

Gold leaf and lacquerware

Here you see another lacquerware painting that uses not only eggshell but gold leaf. Since it is centuries old, you can see how lacquerware holds up through time.

Another section

The dresses of the maidens are all done with eggshell and the colors hold fast.

War art

Vietnam's history has been tumultuous. They have been at war with different nations at one time or another for decades. There was a whole section of War Art that was difficult to witness, but conflict has been part of their history and so these pieces were prominently displayed.

The Women's war effort

Women also fought in the different wars and one such woman is depicted here, doing her part.

Mass destruction

Decades of war whether or not it was WWII, the wars with the French or The American War, the destruction and protection of Vietnam is part of the artist's psyche. Wandering through this section of the museum, it was almost like Vietnam was needing the catharsis of these paintings.

Anti-American war poster

There were several rooms of this art, and none of it was "enjoyable." Posters like these were used to inspire the Vietnamese against "the enemy."

Propaganda Poster

It's pretty self explanatory

Just too difficult to contemplate

Thereís a strong propagandist theme running through much of the war collection. It's the nature of war and I was happy to be moving along...

Vietnamese daily life

There were different styles of Vietnamese expression in the artwork exhibited. Paintings such as the one above are much too dreary for my taste and while I can appreciate the talent, it's not a painting that I find attractive to put in my home or office. A barren portrayal of Vietnamese life, I find this contradictory to my experience.

 

Vietnamese daily life

This is Vietnamese daily life also, depicting fishermen, their nets and a life based on the sea. To me, this style is a bit less oppressive without hiding any truth. But of course, everyone has their affinity to a style. That is what going to art museums are all about.

A soldier, a poster of Ho Chi Minh and villagers

Ho Chi Minh is like the George Washington of Vietnam. There is great reverence and respect for this man, often referred to as "Uncle Ho." Here you see a soldier telling villagers about Uncle Ho. The villagers show such joy.

Ancient sculpture

There were some beautiful and well preserved pieces from Vietnam's Cham civilization as you can see here. There were several rooms of this type of display and it was finely done.

Reclining Buddha

As the story is told, the Enlightened Buddha knew his death was near. He reclined in this position as shown by this statue as he passed into Nirvana. According to Buddhist belief, a person who attains the state of Enlightenment no longer goes through the cycle of life, death and rebirth thereafter and is entirely set free from the human confines of destiny and misery.

Address of Fine Arts Museum: Street 97A – Pho Duc Chinh, HCMC, Vietnam. Entry fee: 10,000VND. Opening hours: 9am-5pm Tue-Sun

Tip: Combine the Fine Arts Museum with a visit to Ben Thanh Market and Le Cong Kieu St (Antique Street with about 60 stores of antiques) - all accessible on foot.

For more stories and photos of Vietnam, click here

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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