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Khanh Hoa Shop Tries, Fails to Sell Nude Photos at Historic Cham Temple

There's a saying in Vietnamese: “Đất lành chim đậu” – good land attracts the birds. When it comes to business, this isn't a bad motto to have; set up your shop in a popular area and you're sure to see more customers than you would somewhere else.

This is precisely why one Vietnamese businessman chose to open a nightclub inside Laos' historic Viengxay Cave last August, complete with pole dancers in sexy version of traditional Laos dress. Sure, the whole operation got shut down on opening night but, boy, did people turn up for that party.

The same goes for one Nha Trang souvenir shop that captured everyone's attention a few weeks back by showcasing tasteful nudes for sale at a prominent local religious site.

According to Nguoi Lao Dong, the owner of Thanh Phong Shop recently found out that the prime real estate inside the sacred Po Nagar Cham Tower area is not a welcome place for portraits of naked women.

Both foreign and Vietnamese tourists were less than impressed by the shop's two nude paintings on display, both of which vividly portrayed the female form. Artist Pham Sanh also caught some flack for his creations, particularly due to the poor Photoshop job on both of them, which tried but failed to combined the four main elements shared by all high-quality paintings: nude women, tigers, palm trees and a blue sky.

In addition to the pictures themselves, the location was a problem. Po Nagar is not only a centuries-old Cham place of worship but also a popular pilgrimage site, visited by thousands of religious devotees each year. If visitors can't even turn up in shorts and t-shirts, then it follows that the nude ladies in these photos were equally unwelcome.

“Some foreigners were confused, saying that it was inappropriate to showcase nude paintings in a holy place,” Nguyen Huy Toan, a local tour guide, told Nguoi Lao Dong.

Businesses which rent space within the temple grounds must only sell approved goods. While Thanh Phong Shop is registered to sell artwork at the site, Vice Chairman of Khanh Hoa's Historic Relics Management Center Nguyen Tuan Dung has ordered the shop to remove the nude paintings and warned that similar mishaps could lead to a shutdown in future.

“Even if they are artistic paintings, naked female body parts like those in the paintings are inappropriate and unallowed,” Dung told Nguoi Lao Dong.

[Photos via The Guardian/Nguoi Lao Dong]