QUANG NINH — A rare gold box dating back to the Tran Dynasty of the early 14th century was found near Ngoa Van Pagoda in Quang Ninh Province two weeks ago.
The gold lotus flower-shaped box dating back to the Tran Dynasty of the early 14th century was found near the Ngoa Van Pagoda in Quang Ninh Province. — File Photo
Pop tops: The lid of the golden box was sophisticately decorated. — VNS File Photo
Monk Thich Thanh Hien, head of the Trung Tiet Pagoda, made the discovery after the box was digged up by a steam-shovel from the side of a low hill during the expansion of a new road from Trai Loc to Ngoa Van Pagoda.
The monk subsequently handed the object over to the People's Committee of Dong Trieu District for care.
The 4.2cm-high spherical object has the shape of a newly opened lotus flower.
Weighing 56,42 grammes (with a 4.9cm mouth diameter), it is decorated with four-petal lemon flower designs typical of the Tran dynasty.
"The box is unique in Viet Nam and it's the first time such a valuable gold object has been found in Dong Trieu District," Bui Minh Tri, director of the Imperial Citadel Research Centre, told Viet Nam News.
Dong Trieu is known as the native land of the Tran family (before they moved to northern Thai Binh and Nam Dinh provinces), where a complex of tombs of eight Tran Kings were built after 1320.
"It is precious not only because it is made from gold, but also thanks to its shape, its designs which were perfectly crafted to a high artistic level," Tri added.
According to the director, the box was probably made by skilful artisans at the Thang Long Imperial Citadel and used in the daily life of the royal court.
"It deserves to be classified as a national precious object," he affirmed.
According to Vu Quoc Hien, deputy director of the Viet Nam History Museum, no other such Tran dynasty find has been put on display yet.
"This gold box is extremely precious," he stressed.
According to Tri, only a few objects made of gold and silver have been discovered at archaeological sites in northern Viet Nam. Most of the excavated objects are made of pottery and ceramics. During a big excavation at the Thang Long Imperial Citadel during 2002-04, archaeologists also found some gold artefacts, but these were all classified as shapeless debris.
In the 1960s, five gold plates dating back to the Ly dynasty were found in Hung Yen. They were classified immediately as precious Vietnamese objects and are being preserved at the Hung Yen State Treasury, having never been presented to the public.
According to Hien, experts have recommended displaying the Tran dynasty gold box in the Anh Sinh Temple in Dong Trieu District to promote the cultural and historical value of the Tran royal family. — VNS