Science and Technology News

Vietnam Museum of Nature holds opening ceremony to display copy of Sword Lake turtle model


On April 5, 2019, at the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, No.18 Hoang Quoc Viet, Hanoi, the Vietnam Museum of Nature organized the opening ceremony to display a copy of the Sword Lake turtle. This was the following activity of the Vietnam Museum of Nature, after handing over the original Sword Lake turtle specimen to the Hanoi People's Committee in March 2019.

Attending the ceremony were Prof.Dr.Sc. Nguyen Dinh Cong, VAST Vice President; Assoc.Prof.Dr. Bui Dinh Tri, Head of the VAST Organization and Personnel Department; Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Trung Minh, General Director of Vietnam Museum of Nature; Assoc.Prof.Dr. Phan Ke Long, Vice General Director of Vietnam Museum of Nature; representatives of VAST units and staff of the Vietnam Museum of Nature.

In traditional culture, the turtle is one of the four spiritual animals, a symbol of longevity. Sword Lake turtle, or Rafestus swinhoei as its scientific name, is a rare species of which there are only 4 individuals left in the world.

On January 19, 2016, Sword Lake turtle died and floated on the lake. The Hanoi People's Committee decided to transport the body of the turtle to the Vietnam Museum of Nature for long-term research and preservation.

The Vietnam Museum of Nature has conducted the process of the turte modeling using the most modern technology in the world. After more than 3 months of cold storage at -20 degrees Celcius, the process began by operating the turtle for organs and living tissues sample preservation under standard conditions.


Copy of Lake Sword turtle

The specimen of Sword Lake turtle is crafted by plastination technology. According to Assoc.Prof.Dr. Phan Ke Long, Deputy General Director of Vietnam Museum of Nature, plastination is a popular preservation technology of specimens in advanced countries with the ability to preserve the original specimens, in form and color, including small parts like eyes and shell side (made of cartilage). This is a new technology that has never been implemented in Vietnam. Two German experts, Mr. Marco Fischer (Erfurt Museum) and Mr. Jurgen Fiebig (Berlin Museum), who have won the highest prize in the international specimen making competition, were invited to participate in manufacturing Sword Lake turtle model.

Experts of the Vietnam Museum of Nature and international experts performed the process within 2 years (2016-2018). The specimen is required to retain its original size as well as the bones inside the body. In particular, the specimen of Sword Lake turtle has a length of 2.08 meters and a width of 1.08 meters, weighs 169 kilograms, and is the largest specimen preserved so far.

For the specimen completion, the Vietnam Museum of Nature received many valuable documents and comments from Assoc.Prof.Dr. Ha Dinh Duc and journalist Hong Ha who had plenty of time to observe, approach and take photos of Sword Lake turtle when it was alive.

The specimen of Sword Lake turtle was handed over to the Hanoi City People's Committee by the Vietnam Museum of Nature on March 16, 2019. Currently, Sword Lake turtle is displayed at Ngoc Son Temple to be officially presented to the people of the capital and visitors. The copy of the Sword Lake turtle specimen displayed at the Vietnam Museum of Nature is an exact copy of 1: 1 ratio on the original of Sword Lake turtle, and is a test version of the completed stages before being carried out on original sample.

Translated by Phuong Huyen
Link to Vietnamese version

Copyright 2013 by VAST. All rights reserved
Address: 18 Hoang Quoc Viet, Cay Giay, Ha Noi. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Write source from VAST when issuing information on the Website.