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Vietnam strikes deal with French auction house for 11-kg imperial gold seal

By Hieu Nhan   November 14, 2022 | 03:38 pm PT
Vietnam strikes deal with French auction house for 11-kg imperial gold seal
The imperial seal of King Minh Mang. Photo courtesy of Millon
Vietnam has successfully negotiated direct purchase of a 19th century imperial seal from French auction house Millon.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will work with Millon and other organizations to get the 11-kg gold seal of Nguyen Dynasty King Minh Mang (1791-1841) to Vietnam as soon as possible, it said in a press release Monday.

"Returning the gold seal to Vietnam not only supplements the collection of lost artifacts, treasures and cultural heritages that 'bleed' overseas, but also reinforces the nation's status and image," the release stated.

While the ministry release did not disclose the final negotiated price, Millon had offered to sell the seal for 2-3 million euros ($1.96-2.95 million).

Vietnam’s Department of Cultural Heritage has confirmed that the seal is authentic.

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 on each of its four legs. 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. Its head is raised and the character "Vuong", meaning king, is incised on its forehead.

The phrase "Hoang De Chi Bao" (Treasure of The Emperor) also appears on the imperial seal.

The seal was the Nguyen Dynasty's largest, most beautiful, valuable and most important gold seal, according to the release.

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