The Spirit of Vietnam

Colby Katz

By the time you read this, The Spirit of Vietnam may well have fully morphed into its next incarnation, The Spirit of Asia, the new name for this lovely shop on Las Olas Boulevard. It¹s in the process of changing hands from original owner Jonathan Rick to Thad and Lisa Hooker, who formerly ran the Art & Animals Import Collection in Pompano Beach. The Hookers may not yet have realized their dream of visiting Vietnam, but they¹ve landed a shop that specializes in a wide variety of impressive high-end merchandise from that country, including arts and crafts. They intend to keep the store¹s current inventory (and atmosphere) and to add items from other Southeast Asian countries they¹ve visited, such as Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. There are a few pieces of furniture here and there, including a beautifully weathered yellow armoire with lots of drawers and compartments and sliding doors, but the bulk of the shop¹s space is devoted to such things as urns, baskets, handbags, pillows, chopsticks, incense burners, and boxes. Lamps with silk shades sit on tables and hang from the ceiling and walls throughout the gallery, and just about everywhere there are Buddhas and Buddha heads fashioned from various materials. Two medium-size bronze horses stand side by side near the front of the shop, echoed by a smaller pair farther back, and three-panel folding screens are especially elegant. But easily the most impressive items here are trays, bowls, and coasters hand-glazed with traditional Vietnamese glazes that give them the most exquisite surfaces. Some of them have even been coated with, of all things, tiny fragments of crushed eggshells before the glaze is applied. The Spirit of Vietnam is at 1515 E. Las Olas Blvd. Call 954-763-7590. -- Michael Mills

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