Huế exhibits ancient gold seal copies

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An exhibition showcasing replicas of gold seals of the Nguyễn dynasty is being held inside the Huế Imperial Citadel, the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế. VNA/VNS Photo Tường Vi

THỪA THIÊN HUẾ — Thirty-two replicas of gold seals from the Nguyễn dynasty are on display at an exhibition inside the Huế Imperial Citadel in the central province of Thừa Thiên Huế.

The event is taking place at the Ngọ Môn (Noon Gate) as part of a cultural programme to welcome Huế Festival 2022, which will be officially held at the end of this month.

It aims to mark the 40th founding anniversary of the Huế Monuments Conservation Centre (HMCC) and provide more chances for visitors to learn about special antiquities associated with the process of the national administration and management under the Nguyễn dynasty.

All 32 gilded ceramic replicas are crafted based on gold seals preserved at the Việt Nam History Museum (VNHM).

Celebrated artisan Trần Độ (third from right) introduces the golden seals to visitors. —VNA/VNS Photo Tường Vi

The copies of the gold seals were made by celebrated artisan Trần Độ from the renowned Bát Tràng pottery village in Hà Nội.

According to the HMCC, the exhibition organiser, the Nguyễn dynasty was the final Vietnamese dynasty which ruled the country from 1802 to 1945.

The exhibition reproduces part of the dynasty’s history from various stories of characters and events associated with the Huế Imperial Capital City.

During its 143-year rule, more than 100 seals cast in gold, silver, or crafted from precious gems were created including 12 of the Gia Long reign (1802-1820), 15 of Minh Mạng (1820-1840), 10 of Thiệu Trị (1841-1847), 15 of Tự Đức (1848-1883), 1 of Kiến Phúc (1884) and Hàm Nghi (1885) each, five of Đồng Khánh (1885-1888), 10 of Thành Thái (1889-1907), 12 of Khải Định (1916-1924) and eight of Bảo Đại (1925-1945).

Unfortunately, the organising board said about a dozen were stolen or destroyed. The remaining 85 seals made of gold, jade and silver are kept at the VNHM.

It added that after the exhibition, artisan Độ would gift copies of the golden seals to HMCC for display purposes.

The exhibition is scheduled to last through to the end of this year.

HMCC 40th founding anniversary

The HMCC celebrated its 40th founding anniversary on June 10, a milestone on the path to recovering and showcasing the values of the Nguyễn dynasty’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

Trần Đình Thành, deputy director of the Cultural Heritage Department at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the centre was a role model in relic conservation and restoration in Việt Nam in general and Huế City in particular.

He asked the centre to continue diversifying services at the Complex of Huế Monuments, rehabilitating relics, and applying digital technology to popularise the complex for tourists.

The Director of the centre, Hoàng Việt Trung, said the Huế artefacts had escaped the requirement of urgent safeguarding and were gradually being restored to their original look.

Huế is home to five types of UNESCO-recognised world cultural heritage: the Complex of Huế Monuments (a world heritage site), nhã nhạc or Vietnamese court music, the printing woodblocks of the Nguyễn dynasty, the imperial archives of the Nguyễn dynasty, and the Literature on Huế Royal Architecture.

Over the last four decades, the centre has preserved and rehabilitated hundreds of relics in the complex, including Noon Gate, Hiển Lâm Pavilion, Thế Miếu Temple, Duyệt Thị Đường Theatre, as well as Diên Thọ, Thái Hoà and Kiến Trung palaces. It has also recovered some of the most important royal festivals of the Nguyễn dynasty.

The centre has cooperation ties with over 30 international organisations and dozens of institutes, universities, and sectors of Việt Nam to carry out studies, heritage conservation, and cultural exchange. VNS

Visitors admire the gold seal copies at the exhibition, which is scheduled to last through to the end of this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Tường Vi

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