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Golden seal's return nominated among 10 most significant cultural events of 2023
Ngo Minh 22:12, 2023/12/11
According to the Cultural Heritage Administration, the return of the Emperor's Golden Seal reaffirms the Party and State's stance on preserving and promoting cultural heritage values.

The repatriation of the Golden Seal "Hoang de chi bao" (Emperor's Treasure) has been nominated as one of the 10 typical cultural, sports and tourism events in 2023.

The successful negotiation process for the repatriation of the Golden Seal was also listed among the 10 typical events of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2022.

According to Pham Dinh Phong, Deputy Director of the Department of Cultural Heritage, the Golden Seal "Hoang de chi bao" is an important treasure of the Nguyen Dynasty, and the successful repatriation of the seal has great significance for national culture, creating a spillover effect and serving as a premise for Vietnam to continue repatriating other antiquities abroad.

 Representatives of Vietnam and France at the seal handover ceremony. Photo: VNA

Last month, the Golden Imperial Seal was handed over to the Vietnamese delegation at a ceremony held at the Vietnamese Embassy in France and attended by Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung, Vietnamese Ambassador to France Dinh Toan Thang, Vietnamese Permanent Representative to UNESCO Le Thi Hong Van, and officials from the French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs and UNESCO.

This followed more than a year of negotiations and legal proceedings to stop the public auction of the seal, which was cast in 1823 during the reign of King Minh Mang (1791-1841), in Paris in November 2022 and to return the artifact to Vietnam at the country's request.

Hoang Gia Nam Hong Co. Ltd, based in the northern province of Bac Ninh, has been selected to represent Vietnam and handle the related financial procedures by French law. The company will also preserve and display the seal and coordinate with the Vietnam National History Museum to protect and promote the value of the antique.

Earlier, representatives of the Department of Cultural Heritage and Hoang Gia Nam Hong Company signed an agreement to negotiate the purchase of the seal from France and its transfer to the State.

 Hoang de chi bao (Treasure of the Emperor) golden seal. Photo: Department of Cultural Heritage

Accordingly, the company promised that the seal would be handed over to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism after a period of display at the Hoang Gia Nam Hong Museum in Bac Ninh Province.

The Department of Cultural Heritage affirmed that in addition to its historical, cultural and artistic value, the Golden Seal is a cultural heritage of the highest importance to the nation, a symbol of political power in a certain historical period of Vietnam, marking an important milestone in the transition from millennial feudalism to the new Vietnamese state - democratic communism, the predecessor of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

On August 30, 1945, while announcing his abdication, King Bao Dai handed over to the revolutionary government the most beautiful and precious seal, the symbol of the monarchy of the Nguyen Dynasty, the golden seal "Hoang de chi bao" and the precious sword inherited from his father - King Khai Dinh (1916-1925).

Tran Huy Lieu, representing the revolutionary government, received the seal and sword and sent them to Hanoi just before President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence at Ba Dinh Square on September 2, 1945.

After the National Resistance Day (December 1946), information about the whereabouts of these treasures was unclear. In 1952, these two antiques fell into the hands of the French, and on March 8, 1952, the French held a ceremony to hand over the sword and seal to Bao Dai, who took them to France in 1953.

Before his death (in 1997), Bao Dai willed all his assets in France, including the "Hoang de chi bao" golden seal, to his wife, Monique Baudot, a Frenchwoman. After Monique Baudot's decease in 2021, the assets belonged to the heirs and were auctioned off in 2022.

After learning that the French auction house Millon would auction the seal on October 31, 2022, the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism immediately drew up a plan to repatriate the seal through cultural diplomacy and implemented it in cooperation with related ministries and agencies. The Vietnamese side explored all channels, including exchanging letters and official notes, requesting the French presidential advisor on foreign affairs, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the French Ministry of Culture, UNESCO and relevant specialized departments to stop the auction.

In the face of Vietnam's interest, Millon twice postponed the auction of the gold seal. After working with the Vietnamese interdisciplinary working group, Millon agreed to give up the artifact "in the spirit of consensus and understanding between the two parties and the friendly cooperation between Vietnam and the French Republic".

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TAG: Hanoi news Vietnam news golden seal Hoang de chi bao history Nguyen dynasty heritage culture
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