Royal symbols, opulence on display in central Vietnam

By Vo Thanh   September 9, 2018 | 08:12 pm GMT+7

The dragon and the phoenix, mythical creatures appropriated by Vietnamese royalty, were depicted predominantly in gold, silver and jade.

The Dragon and phoenix on Nguyen dynasty artifacts exhibition opens to visitors from September 7, featuring 80 objects from the Nguyen dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of the feudal system in Vietnam. The golden, silver and gem artifacts were used in daily life of the Nguyen royal family and high-profile officials. The remarkable detail of all the exhibited objects is the dragon and phoenix images crafted or embroidered on these artifacts, which symbolizes the ultimate power of the royal dynasty under the feudal system. The primary materials used in making these royal essentials range from precious metals like gold, silver to gems or crystals. The artifacts somehow reflect the extravagant life of the feudal royal family. The exhibition is organized by Hue Museum of Royal Fine Arts in collaboration with National Museum of Vietnamese History with an aim to celebrate the 25th anniversary of UNESCO recognition of Complex of Hue monument as world cultural heritage.

An exhibition titled “"Dragon and Phoenix in Nguyen dynasty artifacts” is now open in the central city of Hue. It features 80 artifacts of the Nguyen Dynasty, the last feudal monarchy that ruled Vietnam. Most of them are made of gold, silver and gems. These artifacts, including royal seals and costumes, were used everyday by the royal family and high-ranking officials. The details of all the exhibited objects carry images of the dragon and phoenix, either engraved or embroidered, symbolizing the ultimate power of the feudal rulers. The exhibition is organized by Hue Museum of Royal Fine Arts in collaboration with National Museum of Vietnamese History in celebration of the 25th anniversary of UNESCO recognizing the complex of Hue monuments as a World Heritage.

This is the royal hat of the Nguyen king which was made of gold, gems and corals. In the past, this hat was worn by the Nguyen kings during important events including the imperial court, crowning ceremony, the kings birthday, Lunar New Year celebration or diplomatic missions.

This is a crown worn by kings of the Nguyen Dynasty, made of gold, gems and corals. It was  worn by the Nguyen kings during important events like the crowning ceremony, the king’s birthday, court sessions, Lunar New Year celebrations and so on.

The important kings seal was made completely from gold with the detailed sculpture of a dragon heading up to the sky. The seal was created in the 17th year of Emperor Minh Mang (1836).

The important king’s seal was made of gold, carrying a detailed sculpture of a dragon. The seal was created during the reign of Emperor Minh Mang (1836).

This is one of the gemstone sculpture used for worshiping in the past. The artifact was used to be placed on the royal altar in important rituals during the Nguyen dynasty.

A jade incense burner that used to be placed on the royal altar during important rituals.

This golden vase is meticulously carved in the ninth year of Emperor Khai Dinh (1924). The flying dragons and phoenix were detailed presented on the side of the vase. This was displayed in Kien Trung palace in Hue city.

This golden vase with intricate carvings was made in the ninth year of Emperor Khai Dinh’s reign (1924). The dragons and phoenix are carved on the side of the vase.

The golden and crystal worshiping pedestal was made in the 20th year of Emperor Minh Mang (1839). The dragon image was carved at the base while the phoenix image showed at the higher part of it.

This golden and crystal worshiping pedestal was made in the 20th year of Emperor Minh Mang’s reign (1839). The dragon is carved at the base while the phoenix is higher up.

This is a tea box made full of gold used in the Nguyen royal palace.

A tea tin made of gold used in the Nguyen royal palace.

These are golden wine pots used in grand feasts hosted by the Nguyen kings.

Gold wine flasks used during grand feasts hosted by the Nguyen kings.

These tea cups, made from white gemstones, were commonly used in the royal palaces. The meticulously crafted dragons on the cup give hints about the cup users: these cups belonged to the king.

Tea cups made with white gemstones were commonly used in the royal palaces. The dragon  on the cup indicates that it was used by the king.

Similarly, this set of tea pot and tea cups were crafted from gemstones with golden borders atop the cups. Visiting the exhibtion, Nguyen Dung, Deputy Chairman of Peoples Committee in Thua Thien Hue Province, states that Hue Museum of Royal Fine Arts needs to conduct research into the artifacts and specify their exact age to provide more detailed information for the exhibition visitors. The exhibition will lasts until December 5 in Huế Museum of Royal Fine Arts at 3 Le Truc Street, Hue city, Thua Thien Hue province.

This set of tea pot and cups were also made with gemstones and bordered with gold. Nguyen Dung, Deputy Chairman of People’s Committee of  Thua Thien Hue Province, said that the Hue Museum of Royal Fine Arts needs to conduct more research on the artifacts and provide more detailed information to the public. The exhibition will remain open until December 5 at the Huế Museum of Royal Fine Arts on 3 Le Truc Street, Hue, Thua Thien Hue Province.

Hue was the last feudal capital city under the Nguyen dynasty. From 1802 till 1945, Hue was the political, cultural and historical center of Vietnam.

The Complex of Hue Monuments was recognized by UNESCO in 1993 as a World Cultural Heritage. The Nguyen dynasty rule was lasted 143 years, starting in1802. In 1945, the last Nguyen king, Bao Dai, abdicated his throne.

 
 
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