Exhibit in Huế showcases Emperor Hàm Nghi's legacy

January 13, 2023 - 08:18

The exhibition is organised by Huế Monuments Conservation Centre to commemorates the 80th anniversary of Emperor Hàm Nghi's death (1944-2023) by introducing the monarch's life, work, and aesthetic legacy.

THỪA THIÊN HUẾ — An oil painting on canvas titled "Lac des Alpes" by Emperor Hàm Nghi in 1900-1903 is one of many artefacts on display at the exhibition "Emperor Hàm Nghi-Life and Art," which opens this week in Huế Museum of Royal Antiquities. 

The exhibition is organised by Huế Monuments Conservation Centre to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Emperor Hàm Nghi's death (1944-2023) by introducing the monarch's life, work, and aesthetic legacy. 

Photographs from Emperor Hàm Nghi's reign, including those from the battle against the French and his exile in Algiers (Algeria), as well as 31 replicas of artworks such as paintings and statues created by the emperor while he was in exile, are on show.

Amandine Dabat (centre), a descendant of Emperor Hàm Nghi to the fifth generation, and provincial officials from visit the display. VNA/VNS Photo Mai Trang

In addition, the exhibition features a wireless display system that allows visitors to view documents, photographs, and video clips that provide an insight to the life of Hàm Nghi.

The Huế Monuments Conservation Centre also collaborated with Dr. Amandine Dabat, an art historian and 5th generation descendant of Emperor Hàm Nghi, to organise an event titled "The Life and Art of Emperor Hàm Nghi" at the Duyệt Thị Đường Theatre.

Dabat expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to attend the exhibition celebrating the life and work of Emperor Hàm Nghi.

She donated the Huế Museum of Royal Antiquities a smoking pipe that belonged to the emperor.

The pipe is over 20 cm in length and nearly 9 cm in diameter, and it is made of wood with mother-of-pearl carvings. This artefact was believed to have been crafted in Việt Nam around the end of 19th century.

Dabat stated that she will donate many artworks and belongings of the emperor to Việt Nam in the near future.

Specifically, Dabat said her greatest hope is to bring Emperor Hàm Nghi's body to his hometown for interment. This is also the emperor's final wish before his death.

The smoking pipe of Emperor Hàn Nghi is inlaid with an ancient poetry and is believed to have been made in Việt Nam at the end of the 19th century. Photo courtesy of Huế Monuments Conservation Centre

Bringing together the people of Thừa Thiên-Huế and their French partners, "The Life and Art of Emperor Hàm Nghi" sparked a plethora of opportunities for cultural interaction and fostered stronger links between the two sides.

Notably, this year marks both the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic cooperation between Việt Nam and France and the 10th anniversary of the development of a strategic partnership between the two countries.

Hàm Nghi was the eighth of 13 Nguyễn Dynasty monarchs who ruled in Huế, Annam, from 1802 to 1945. He was crowned in 1884 at the age of 13, but only ruled for a year before being deposed.

In 1888, he was exiled to Algeria, which was then a French colony. In 1943, he died of cancer. During his time in France, the former emperor studied art at a workshop run by well-known artist Maurius Reynard. He was also interested in sculpture.

One of the many paintings Hàm Nghi made throughout his lifetime sold at auction in 2010 for 8,800 euro (US$9,387). VNS