|The "Hoàng đế chi bảo" (Treasure of the Emperor) seal. — Photo from Millon
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese agencies overseas will make plans to bring the Gold Seal of Emperor Minh Mạng (1791-1841) that was set to be auctioned off in France back to Việt Nam “as soon as possible” in accordance with the two countries’ laws.
The spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lê Thị Thu Hằng made the remarks during the regular press conference held on Thursday in Hà Nội, in response to questions over progress in the repatriation of the royal seal that symbolises the supreme power of the emperor of Vietnamese imperial monarchy.
Under the instruction of the Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of Việt Nam in France, Việt Nam's permanent delegation to UNESCO, through all channels, including exchanges of letters, official diplomatic notes, meeting with the adviser of the President of France, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture of France, UNESCO leaders and other relevant specialised agencies, have requested the intervention to cease the auction and hand over the ownership to Việt Nam, according to the spokesperson.
“We have also discussed with the auction company Millon, consulted law firms specialising in heritages, culture and the arts and relevant individuals, to seek more information to inform our domestic agencies with and create a foundation for further negotiations,” Hằng said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will instruct the Embassy of Việt Nam in France, as well as Việt Nam’s permanent delegation to UNESCO to work closely with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Việt Nam and relevant agencies to devise and implement the roadmap to repatriate the seal.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Monday said that it has successfully negotiated with Millon to bring back the seal, following much public interests after the house on October 19 announced the auction of 329 artefacts, including the seal that was made in 1823 and likely to be sold at the price of US$3 million.
Millon later also said it is “pleased to announce that a private agreement has been reached with the State of Việt Nam which will allow the safe return to his country of the Gold Seal," in a statement available in French, Vietnamese, and English published on its website.
The public auction "So Unique" of November 18, 2022 is therefore cancelled, according to Millon.
According to the assessment of the ministry, the repatriation of the “Hoàng đế chi bảo” gold seal to Việt Nam will not only supplement and complete the collection of antiques, treasures and cultural heritages lost abroad, but also affirm the resolution of the Party and State of Việt Nam in preserving and promoting the value of cultural heritage, meeting the increasingly high demands for cultural consumption of the Vietnamese people, raising the national self-esteem of the young generation in the international arena, and contributing to the development of Việt Nam’s culture as the world heritages. — VNS