Golden imperial seal handed over to Vietnam from France


The Nguyen Dynasty’s golden imperial seal of ‘Hoang de chi bao’ (Treasure of the Emperor) was handed over to Vietnam at a ceremony held at the Vietnamese Embassy in France on November 16, said the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST).

The handover took place in the presence of Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung, Vietnamese Ambassador to France Dinh Toan Thang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to UNESCO Le Thi Hong Van, and officials of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and UNESCO.

This came as a result of more than one year of negotiation and implementation of legal procedures on halting the open auction of the seal, cast in 1823 under the reign of King Minh Mang, in Paris in November 2022, and handing over the object to Vietnam at the country’s request.

The Hoang Gia Nam Hong Co. Ltd, based in the northern province of Bac Ninh, was chosen to represent Vietnam to handle related financial procedures in l
ine with French law. It will also preserve and display the seal and coordinate with the Vietnam National Museum of History to protect and bring into play the antique’s value.

On November 12, 2022, the Department of Culture Heritage and the Nam Hong company signed an agreement on negotiating the purchase of the seal from France and transferring it to the State.

Under the deal, the company pledged that the seal will be transferred to the State via the MCST after a suitable period of time when the firm no longer has demand for possessing, displaying, and bringing into play the seal’s value at the Hoang Gia Nam Hong Museum in Bac Ninh.

The department said that the ‘Hoang de chi bao’ seal is an important cultural heritage symbolising political power in a period of Vietnam’s history and also marking the transition from monarchy to the people’s democracy in the Ho Chi Minh era.

The collection and repatriation of the golden seal are aimed at not only perfecting the collections of antiquities, treasures, and cultu
ral heritage elements illegally brought abroad but also affirming the country’s stature and influence. The move also shows the Party and State’s judicious policy of preserving and bringing into play cultural heritage values to meet people’s growing cultural enjoyment demand, promote the national pride, and develop an advanced Vietnamese culture deeply imbued with the national identity and contributing to the world’s cultural heritage.

It is also necessary for ensuring the integrity of cultural heritage, which UNESCO attaches importance to during cultural heritage preservation, thus demonstrating Vietnam’s implementation of commitments in the international conventions it has joined, the department noted.

The department also attributed the seal repatriation success to the cooperation from authorities, partners, friends, and the Vietnamese community in France.

In the time ahead, it will propose MCST leaders consider coordinating with relevant ministries and sectors to compile a list of Vietnamese antiquities
illegally brought abroad and consult with the UNESCO Secretariat of the 1970 Convention about the list to seek measures for repatriating the antiquities./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

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