Wednesday, 01/03/2017 11:32

Huế holds exhibit before royal Japanese visit

International treasure: Imari porcelain jars produced by Japanese artisans in the 18th century displaying at the exhibition. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu
Viet Nam News

THUA THIEN- HUE — Hue yesterday opened an exhibition showcasing the history of Viet Nam and Japan trade relations.

The exhibition kicked off events ahead of a visit by the Japanese emperor and empress to the city this week.

The items on display at the Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities include Hizen, Kakiemon, Imari Kutani and Nabeshima porcelain jars and plates. The items are said to be products of Japanese artisans who lived in the 17-19th century. Some Fujiwara bronze mirrors have also been exhibited.

The exhibition also showcases carved antique aloeswood, ivory and Vietnamese Chu Dau porcelain products, representing trade items from the Vietnamese side that Japanese traders preferred. In addition, royal and civil documents facilitating trade between Vietnamese and Japanese dating back to the 19th century are also on display.

The items will be displayed until May 5 at the museum, which is situated behind the former imperial city’s Hien Nhon exit gate. Entrance is free for a month until March 26, following which the museum managers will charge regular ticket rates at the entrance gate.

According to researcher Tran Duc Anh Son, the museum’s former director, these items were valuable in presenting the trade history between the two countries over the past 400 years.

Son said Hizen porcelain antiques have been found in archeological sites in Hoi An in Quang Nam Province, in the ruins of Thanh Ha Port in Hue and the Thang Long Citadel site in Ha Noi.

Meanwhile, the famed Kakiemon, Imari, Kutani and Nabeshima porcelain antiques were traded for ornamental use at the residencies of Nguyen lords (1558-1777) and the Nguyen dynasty’s emperors (1802-1945), he added.

According to historians, Viet Nam and Japan diplomatic relations began in the year of 736, when Vietnamese Buddhist monks arrived in Japan and brought with them music that later influenced Japanese court music.

Bilateral trade ties started later in 1591 when a mandarin representing the Nguyen family in Dang Trong (the country’s region that includes Hue today) was mailed to Japan requesting trade relations.

Ancient Japanese authorities later allowed 71 ships to trade with local traders in Dang Trong and permitted another 37 ships to Dang Ngoai (the country’s region that includes Ha Noi today).

At that time, Japanese traders brought porcelain, canons, paper and minerals to sell to Viet Nam and purchased silk, aloeswood, porcelains and farming products from locals before sailing back to Japan.

Former imperial capital Hue City in Thua Thien-Hue Province is the country’s only locality that will receive the Japanese emperor and empress during this visit. They plan to visit Hue Citadel and the memorial house of patriotic scholar Phan Boi Chau, who boosted Viet Nam and Japan relations in modern times. — VNS


Through the looking glass: Researcher Tran Duc Anh Son (right) introduces Vietnamese products that were preferred by ancient Japanese traders being displayed at the exhibition. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu

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