Saturday, 05/11/2022 08:43

Authorities working to repatriate imperial seal up for auction in France

The golden seal from the reign of Emperor Minh Mạng. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Authorities in Việt Nam are looking at ways to repatriate an imperial golden seal of the Nguyễn Dynasty that will be auctioned soon by a Paris-based auction house, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokeswoman Lê Thị Thu Hằng.

The golden seal, made in 1823 during Emperor Minh Mạng's reign (1820 – 1841), is due to be auctioned by Millon in Paris along with other antiquities hailing from or related to Việt Nam. 

Spokesperson Hằng said over the past few days and under the Government's direction, the MoFA, the Vietnamese Embassy in France, and the Vietnamese Delegation to UNESCO have been working closely with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) and other ministries and sectors to liaise with the French Foreign Ministry and Culture Ministry, the Embassy of France in Việt Nam, along with leaders of UNESCO and the auction house to verify the information and defer the auction.

The Vietnamese Embassy said on October 31 that the auction would be postponed until November 10.

The foreign ministry directs the Vietnamese Embassy in France and the UNESCO delegation to coordinate with the MCST to repatriate the item.

On October 31, Millon offered for sale more than 300 items and artworks hailing from or related to Việt Nam in the catalogue Great Civilisations: Vietnam Arts Sale.

They include the golden seal Hoàng Đế Chi Bảo (Treasure of the Emperor) of Emperor Minh Mạng and a golden bowl dating back to the reign of Emperor Khải Định (from 1917 to 1925) of the Nguyễn Dynasty (1802  1945).

The golden square-shaped seal with a twisting dragon carved on top, weighing over 10kg and symbolising the king's supreme power, had a starting price of about 2-3 million euros (US$1.9-2.9 million).

However, Millon said that the sale of this piece had been postponed due to the Vietnamese State's strong interest in the seal.

"Due to the strong interest of the Vietnamese State for lot 101 gold seal of Emperor Minh Mạng, we postpone the sale of this piece to Thursday, November 10, 2022, at noon," wrote the auction house on their website.

Earlier, the Vietnamese Embassy in France had worked with the parties concerned regarding the seal auction. Representatives of the Nguyễn Phúc clan in Việt Nam, who are descendants of the Nguyễn Kings, also sent a request for cancelling the auction of the golden seal and golden bowl to Millon. — VNS

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