|Seal of approval: The seminar attracted arguments from experts, historical researchers and archaeologists about the real origin and historical meaning of the seal. — VNS Photo An Vu
HA NOI (VNS) — A scientific seminar, entitled Sac Menh Chi Bao (Wooden Seal Found in an Archaeological Excavation at Thang Long Royal Citadel in 2012-14), was held late last month.
The seminar, which was organised by the Thang Long-Ha Noi Heritage Preservation Centre at Thang Long Royal Citadel to study and debate Sac Menh Chi Bao, attracted over 40 experts, historical researchers, as well as scholars from different universities and institutes in Ha Noi.
Sac Menh Chi Bao, the newly found wooden seal used by the king, is carved with three dragons curled upwards, with the dragon's head made of terra-cotta. It is reported to have been made in 1257, during the reign of emperor Tran Thai Tong (1218-77).
The seminar has seen debates among participants concerning the true origin of the seal, as they believed the centre had failed to scientifically prove the object was a seal, and there also were questions about the date the seal was made.
Science Prof Vu Minh Giang of Viet Nam National University said, from his perspective, the seal was actually made at the time of the Tran Dynasty.
"The seal played an important part in the defeat of the Tran rulers against the Mongol invaders. The material used to make the seal is Chau La wood, which can last for thousands of years".
The seal was also thought to have been used when the emperor issued a new decree or ordinance.
However, according to professor Phan Huy Le, that evidence is not enough to determine that the seal is from the Tran Dynasty.
"We do not have enough historical evidence or enough items to declare this seal was made during that time. As long as we do not have sufficient proof, let's stop turning the seal into a mass production object that can be copied, sold, bought and bestowed at the Tran Temple festival each year. It may have a bad effect on the inner spirit of the Royal Citadel," said Le.
Also, Dr Le Quoc Viet from the Viet Nam Buddhist University agrees with the opinion. He adds that based upon archaeological findings, he had never seen such a version of Sac Menh Chi Bao, and he believed the seal could not belong to a flourishing period, such as the Tran Dynasty.
The exact origin and historical meaning of the Sac Menh Chi Bao wooden seal was argued about by researchers and experts attending the seminar. The Thang Long-Ha Noi Heritage Preservation Centre is still seeking more opinions about the seal. — VNS