VietNamNet Bridge – Collecting elephant tusks is now in fashion among the rich men who believe that the tusks can show the upper class of their owners. Thousands of elephants have been killed just because they have valuable tusks.
Le, 54, the owner of a wooden furniture workshop, has the hobby of collecting elephant tusks. Everything seen in his house is made of ivory materials.
The man said elephant tusk is an “aristocratic” thing which existed in the imperial palaces and the mandarins’ private edifices in the past. Elephant tusks were even more valuable than gold sometimes. It was because gold could be bought by many people, while tusks could be unreachable even if someone had money.
Le also said that he likes collecting elephant tusks because tusks are not the popular things which everyone can have. “You would not feel happy if other people also have the things like yours. It’s not interesting,” he said.
“Meanwhile, collecting elephant tusks will differentiate you from others. You can believe that no one else in the world has the similar tusks like yours” he added. “This shows your upper class in the society.”
Le takes pride of the tusk collection displayed in his house. There is a pair of monolithic tusks taller than a tall man. There is another pair of the same size but with the carved image of Buddha. Meanwhile, the other pairs of tusks show the images extracted from the story about the Chinese three kingdoms of Wei, Wu and Shu. And there are numerous ivory knives, vases, cups and swords.
“I know many people who have collections of elephant tusks. But there are two classes of collectors. The first group of collectors only has small things. Meanwhile, real connoisseurs must have monolithic tusks,” he said. In general, the high class products always have associated documents which show their origin, possibly from Vietnam or other countries.
When asked about the price, Le said on the black market, a kilo of tusk is priced at $3,000 at minimum. The price could be double or triple, if the tusks weigh 50 kilos and more.
However, the main value of old tusks does not lie in the weight or size, but in the age, style and the origin.
There are many reasons that prompt people to collect elephant tusks. Some believe that elephant tusks symbolize the power. Others collect tusks because he wants other people know he is a rich man.
Especially, Khanh, 52, in Binh Tan district in HCM City, trades elephant tusks for money. “I think that elephants, like rhinos, would get extinct. By that time, elephant tusks would be more expensive than ever,” he said, stressing that the business would never bring loss.
The hobby of Khanh, Le and many other men has led to the massacre of thousands of elephants so far.
In April, the police and forest rangers in Quang Binh province discovered a dead elephant with skin and tusks shed.
Just some days before, Black Kham, an elephant was found brutally murdered after it was carried away for breeding purpose. When people came back the next morning to the place where they left the elephant before, they could not find it. The dead body of the unfortunate elephant was only found later in the forest, 3 kilometers away from the place.