Monday, 08/04/2024 07:02

French auction house to put Vietnamese royal antiques under the hammer

HÀ NỘI  Multiple Vietnamese royal treasures from the Nguyễn dynasty (1802-1945) are scheduled to be auctioned in France on April 26.

They are to be sold in the auction session "Collection Michel Gontier - Decorations of the Annam Empire" of French auction house Drouot.

The highlights of 273 items on auction are the royal badge of Emperor Khải Định (1885-1925) and the ceremonial sabre of Emperor Hàm Nghi (1871-1944). 

The sabre of Emperor Hàm Nghi (1871-1944) will be auctioned in France on April 26. Photo courtesy of Drouot
The imperial badge of Emperor Khải Định, reigning from 1885 to 1925. Photo courtesy of Drouot

The imperial badge of Emperor Khải Định is adorned with pearls and diamonds, with a total weight of 6 carats. It belonged to Emperor Khải Định, reigning from 1885 to 1925.

The rectangular tablet is engraved with a dragon motif, and on the front side, it bears the inscription of four Han Chinese letters, roughly meaning "Peace and prosperity to the Son of Heaven".

The only imperial badge of its kind, it was created for Emperor Khải Định who wore it on his official photos and significant ceremonial occasions of the court. 

It has an estimated initial bid price of 80,000-120,000 euros (US$89,600-134,400), making it the highest-valued item in the collection. 

The jade pendant of Emperor Khải Định. Photo courtesy of Drouot

Similarly, the half moon shape pendant of Emperor Khải Định, made of white jade, engraved around the rim with a decoration of dragons facing each other in partially openwork clouds, is also up for auction.

The antique is engraved with gilded characters. On the front, it bears the inscription of four Han words, meaning "Precious badge of dignity of the Emperor Khải Định". On the back, it features the inscription meaning "Having received the perpetual mandate of Heaven".

This exceptional personal badge of Emperor Khải Định appeared on many of his official photographs, notably those taken by René Tétart, head of the cinematographic mission of the General Government of Indochina. 

The initial bid price for the jade pendant is set at 30,000 to 40,000 euros ($33,600-44,800). 

The sabre, 97.5cm long, was reportedly presented by Emperor Hàm Nghi, reigning from 1884-1885, to Major General Brière de l'Isle, commander-in-chief of the French Protectorate in Tonkin [North Việt Nam], in 1885. 

The sabre will be auctioned with an initial bid price estimated between 3,000 and 3,500 euros (US$3,360-3,920). 

The auction also includes pieces of royal jewellery of many members of the Nguyễn dynasty like the personal badges Prince Bảo Long and Princess Phương Dung, and the jade tablet of Empress Nam Phương (1914-1963). 

In February last year, a Vietnamese collector from the northern province of Bắc Ninh - Nguyễn Thế Hồng - has spent 6.1 million euros (US$6.5 million) purchasing the Nguyễn dynasty imperial seal from Millon Auction House.

The gold seal is being exhibited at his private museum - Nam Hồng Royal Museum - in Từ Sơn District, Bắc Ninh. 

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has proposed a draft amendment to the Cultural Heritage Law to prohibit national treasures trading and export of relics and antiquities.  VNS

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