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Vietnam striving to repatriate imperial seal of Nguyen Dynasty

Vietnam striving to repatriate imperial seal of Nguyen Dynasty Paris-based auction house Millon removed a golden imperial seal dating back to 1823 from the list of objects offered for sale at auction on October 31, the Department of Cultural Heritage said on November 1.

After negotiation efforts, the Vietnamese representative and Millon reached an agreement on deferring the auction of the seal, with the line “Hoang de chi bao” (Treasure of the Emperor) on it, at 7:30am on October 31 (Paris time). At 10:10am the same day, the auction house issued an official statement about the removal of the item from the list of antiquities to be auctioned on October 31.

This is the initial success of the efforts to repatriate the seal, according to the department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST).

In the time ahead, the MCST will strongly coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, some other ministries, sectors, organisations, and individuals to mobilise every resource for returning the seal home as soon as possible, the department noted.

It added the determination to repatriate the seal aims to not only recover lost antiquities and cultural heritages but also affirm the country’s stature and influence, helping affirm the Party and State’s clear-sighted viewpoint on preserving and bringing into play the cultural heritage values, develop an advanced culture deeply imbued with the national identity of Vietnam, and contribute to the world’s cultural heritage.

This is highly meaningful to safeguarding the integrity of cultural heritage – an important issue that UNESCO pays great attention to in cultural heritage preservation, and also demonstrates Vietnam’s role in implementing the international conventions to which it is a party, the department said.

On October 19, Millon announced that it will auction 329 antiquities, including two dating back to the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 - 1945) – a golden seal made in 1823 under the reign of King Minh Mang (1820 - 1841) and a golden bowl made under the reign of King Khai Dinh (1917 - 1925), at 11am on October 31 (Paris time).

On the basis of collected evidence, verification through Millon-published information and images, and comparison with some golden seals of the Nguyen Dynasty being kept at some Vietnamese museums and relic sites, the seal supposed to be auctioned is confirmed to be “Hoang de chi bao” cast in 1823 under the reign of King Minh Mang./.