HCMC seminary’s incredible antique collection

By Quynh Tran   September 19, 2018 | 03:47 pm GMT+7

A seminary in Saigon boasts a veritable museum of invaluable antiques from before the Common Era.

HCMC seminarys incredible antique collection

The Saint Joseph Seminary Saigon at No.6 Ton Duc Thang Street was built in 1863. Since 2005 one of its buildings has been used to exhibit antiques, sculptures, religious paintings and folk arts.

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The building was one of the first to be built by the French in Saigon, and is still in good shape. It used to be the seminary’s common living space. Along its corridors are displayed many farming implements dating back hundreds of years like horse carriage, water wheel, rice mortar, plow, and harrow.

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Inside are two galleries with around 2,000 antiques from Vietnam as well as other countries. Father Nguyen Huu Triet of the seminary said: “I started to collect these antiques from the 1990s. Besides, there are many objects given to us by churches, foreign visitors and international organizations.”

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The oldest objects include lamps, situla, jewelry.

On display currently is a collection of 650 ancient lamps from Vietnam and other countries. They are in various shapes and sizes and made from a variety of materials such as terracotta, copper, ceramic, wood, iron, and glass.

This iron lamp has been dated back to circa the 5th century BC, to the Dong Son Culture, which flourished in the Red River basin in northern Vietnam between 1000 BC and the 1st century AD. The lamp is proof that Vietnamese already knew how to use metal to make objects.

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A number of household items used in Vietnam in the 19th century are on display, including cabinets, tables, horizontal lacquered boards, iron censers.

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The Book of Wisdom, the foundation of Confucianism, printed during the reign of King Ming Mang of the Nguyen Dynasty (1820-1841).

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There are also antiques from other cultures such as Champa (central and southern Vietnam, from the 2nd century AD – 1832), Sa Huynh (also central and southern Vietnam, between 1000 BC and 200 AD), Oc Eo (Mekong Delta, 1st– 7th Century AD).

At the entrance to the building are two large terracotta jars from the Sa Huynh Culture used for ritual burials dating back to the 5th Century BC.

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Khmer stone statues dating back to around the 12th century, the Khmer Empire’s golden age.

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There are also many artifacts from other Asian countries and Europe. This bronze bell came from Guangdong in south China in the 18th century.

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This French clock made in the 19th century is nearly 2 m tall and decorated with sophisticated details

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Many recent artifacts belonging to Central Highlands ethnic groups such as funerary statues, drumsticks, gongs add to the diversity of the objects on display.

The exhibition is open to the public at weekends at 8 am-11 am and 2 pm – 4 pm. Entry is free.

 
 
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