By Simon | 3Ders
Although there have been some uphill battles in the realm of 3D scanning and digitizing public artwork recently, it appears that in the long run, the practice of preserving cultural icons for others to appreciate might make more sense in the long run than those who have arguments against it as copyright infringement.
Recently, Nguyen Tri Quang, a 17-year old Vietnamese boy from Hanoi, quit school to dedicate all of his time to creating and publishing digital models of Vietnamese sculptures on his website, VR3D.
His decision to quit school and archive his country’s rich history came at an interesting time... in August of last year, Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism issued a warning against the use of foreign “exotic mascots” - particularly Chinese-style stone lions - in religious institutions and public agencies.
While visiting Vietnam’s first exhibit of purely traditional Vietnamese mascots four months later in November, Quang used his previous background in 3D scanning to come up with a way to promote the purely Vietnamese mascots that were based on his family’s collection for nearly a decade.
Quang, whose family is made of craftspeople, is no stranger to his country’s rich cultural history nor technology. Previously, he had spent the majority of his life following his father to relics across the country to gather samples. When he was in eighth grade, he even launched a website for the family.
“In my opinion, such exhibits are spatially and chronologically limited, as many can’t make it to the exhibit. I then thought of launching our collections in the form of 3D on our website, and make them readily accessible to everyone,” said Quang.
Although his parents were initially reluctant to let him quit school at 17, they finally gave in and Quang used his knowledge of 3D scanning technology - which his father had introduced him to in the first place - to launch an exhibition of the Vietnamese mascots
The VR3D website, which Quang both develops the content for and operates, features vividly-detailed 3D scans of hundreds of Vietnamese artifacts that online users can pan around and zoom into. The models are so detailed that it takes Quang around five days to finish a 3D scan for an average mascot and upload it onto the VR3D site.
“The colors and sizes of the objects posted on my website are perfectly authentic and precise. Specks of dust and patches of moss on the real-life mascots can even be spotted on my 3D-scanned objects. Those interested, particularly artisans, can rotate and interact with them with great ease,” Quang addedonline.
The young entrepreneur and historian also plans on integrating a measurement tool into the model viewer’s interface so that artisans and experts can use dimensions to craft their own sculptures based on the 3D scans on VR3D.
Tran Hau Yen The, a Vietnamese historian who consults with Quang on the annotations for the mascots, thinks that Quang’s efforts are among the best for preserving the country’s history while also promoting it for both locals and those curious overseas.
“Quang’s innovative 3D scanning process is one of the best ways to help revive and promote Vietnamese mascots. His copies give local artisans immensely helpful clues on how to craft purely Vietnamese mascots,” The observed.
Currently, the 3D “online exhibition” includes hundreds of mascots that cover a vast amount of Vietnam’s cultural history spanning over multiple historical periods. In staying true to his passion for technology as well as preserving the past, Quang wants to further explore how he can integrate e-commerce into the site as well as better-preserving heritage samples. His dream is to eventually use the website to 3D scan and categorize all of the heritage sites of his country and share them with the world digitally... including those that are owned by individuals or organizations internationally.
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