Vietnam hopes to bring Nguyen Dynasty 11-kg gold seal home

By Hieu Nhan   November 1, 2022 | 02:13 am PT
Vietnam hopes to bring Nguyen Dynasty 11-kg gold seal home
The imperial seal of King Minh Mang. Photo courtesy of Millon
Vietnam’s Department of Cultural Heritage called on individuals and organizations to join the auction of 11-kg gold seal of Nguyen Dynasty King Minh Mang in France and bring it home.

"The purpose of bringing this gold seal home is not only to complete the collection of lost cultural heritages but also to affirm the nation’s position and influence," a representative of the department said.

French auction house Millon on Monday deferred the auction from Oct. 31 to Nov. 11 due to the strong interest of Vietnam in the gold seal. This gave Vietnam a greater chance to buy the seal directly if possible, the department said.

Another way is to call on organizers and agencies in the country to participate in the auction, obtain the seal and gift it to the museum. The asking price of the seal on the Millon website is around 2-3 million euros ($1.98 - 2.97 million).

The rare and valuable imperial golden seal of Nguyen Dynasty Emperor Minh Mang (1791-1841) drew a lot of attention when it was first put up for auction Monday.

According to the French auction house, the square-based seal is 10.4 centimeters tall and weighs 10.78 kilograms.

The handle is in the form of a coiled dragon with five claws and the head is raised, with the character "Vuong", meaning king, incised on its forehead. The phrase "Hoang De Chi Bao" (Treasure of The Emperor) also appears on the seal.

Each of the dragon's four legs has five claws. Its scaly body is adorned with a bulging dorsal ridge, and the head is covered with stag horns, exposing the lion's muzzle and teeth.

More than a hundred seals were created during the 143 years of the dynasty. Models were made in gold, jade, ivory, silver and bronze and used by the various members of the royal family according to their rank, as well as officials. Fifteen jade and gold seals were created during the reign of King Minh Mang.

On Tuesday, a golden bowl made during the reign of Nguyen Dynasty King Khai Dinh was sold for $672,000 at an auction by Millon in France.

In June, a jade bowl owned by Tu Duc, the fourth king of Vietnam’s last royal dynasty, went under the hammer for 845,000 euros at an auction in Paris.

In October last year, a Vietnamese Mandarin cap from the Nguyen Dynasty sold for 600,000 euros in Spain.

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