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Royal welcome for Nguyen antiques

Update: July, 12/2014 - 10:59
King-size: The royal bed that was used by King Thanh Thai. — Photo courtesy of Hue Monuments Conservation Centre

THUA THIEN-HUE (VNS)  — Items that were once used by kings and royal family members during the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945) are to be returned by France and displayed in Hue.

According to officials at the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre, the centre has succeeded in arranging for the return of a royal bed and a cart that had once been the property of the royal family. The royal bed was used by the 10th emperor of the dynasty, King Thanh Thai (1879-1954), and the royal cart was a gift from the king to his mother for transporting her inside the royal garden within the Imperial Palace in Hue.

The royal bed is made of wood, measuring 191cm high, 212cm long and 140cm wide and displaying the royal family's carved pattern. The cart is 136cm high, 230cm long and 102cm wide, and built of wood and metal.

Both items were signed by the Vietnamese artisans who built them.

The items are expected to be displayed in Viet Nam as national treasures.

"Thanks to joint efforts between the centre, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Vietnamese Embassy in France, Vietnamese representatives won an auction for the cart and we are fulfilling necessary procedures to transport it to Viet Nam," said the centre's director, Phan Thanh Hai.

"An overseas Vietnamese, who has a family connection with the king, won the auction for the royal bed and he wants to donate it to Hue."

The auctions were conducted at Guimet museum in Paris last month. The cart was sold for 45,000 euros and the royal bed for 100,000 euros. An additional cost of 24 per cent for the value of each item is to be charged by the auction house.

Hai said when the items are returned, the centre will petition to higher ranking authorities for their recognition as national treasures.

However, the return of the items has not been simple, as the centre had to raise 3,500 euros to pay for the shipping. A fund raising campaign was held in the country to help raise the money. Officials expects more donations to arrive from throughout the country. — VNS

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