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What was the power of Vietnam emperor in the past?

por Dena Stansberry (2019-10-11)

Some of the mystery surrounding the seals of Nguyen Dynasty has been lifted with their publication in a new time.

A collection of 85 seals dating from the Nguyen Dynasty have been showcased in a new publication from the national Museum of Vietnamese history, entitled "Royal seals of the Nguyen Dynasty in Vietnam".

Thought to be lost in history, the valuable artifacts from the Nguyen Dynasty are truly magnificent national treasures and include the gold and jade seals of emperors, empresses and crown prince's.

Under the monarchy, the gold and jade seals were considered the symbol or supreme power. This explains why only the most skilled artisans from around the country were recruited to produce them.

Each of the Vietnamese dynasties, from the Dinh, Ly, Tran, Ho, and Le to the Nguyen, had gold and jade seals, but only the Nguyen Dynasty had such a rich collection.

According to historical documents, during its 143 years the Nguyen Dynasty had more than 100 seals, Those cast from gold were called Kim Bao (gold seals), and those created from jade were called Ngoc Ty (jade seals).

Late on, the two types of seals were not clearly differentiated. Over the years the national Museum of Vietnamese History has managed to preserve 85 royal seals, and the Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities hours another eight.

Among the 93 royal seals of the Nguyen Dynasty, two were cast in 1709 under Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu. Twelve others were created under Emperor Gia Long reign (1802- 1820), 15 under Emperor Minh Mang (1820-1840), 10 under Emperor Thieu Tri (1841-1847), 15 under Emperor Tu Duc (1848-1883), and one during each of the reigns of Emperor Kien Phuc (1884) and Emperor Ham Nghi (1885).

Five seals were also made during Emperor Dong Khanh's reign (1885-1888), 10 under Emperor Thanh Thai (1889-1907), 12 under Emperor Khai Dinh (1916-1924), and the remaining eight under Emperor Bao Dai's rule (1925-1945).No seals were made under the three Nguyen Emperors Duc Duc (1883), Hiep Hoa(1883) and Duy Tan (1907-1916).

Each seal typically, includes the body and the handle. In the early days, the seal's body was square. Dring the rule of Emperor Minh Mang it was made in a round shape. Under Emperor Dong Khanh it was octagonal and elliptic. The seal's handle the Nguyen lords was kylin-shaped, while during the Nguyen emperors' time it was primarily in the form of a dragon or similar creature. The seal was also carved in a range of shapes such as kylin (for princes), turles (for grand empresses), and twisted pillars.

Characters embossed on the seals were Han words (ancient Chinese characters). Some seals combined Han and French characters, specifically

the Trieu dinh lap tin(representing the court's prestige) of Emperor Dong Khanh and the Khai Dinh Dai Nam Hoang de (Emperor Khai Dinh Dai Nam). Sometimes plain characters were carved around the seal's body or its back, indicating the date it was made, the materials and its weight.

Among the Nguyen Dynasty's seals, the Hoang de chi bao (the seal of Emperor) is the heaviest, weighinh up to 280 liang (approximately 10.5kg). The Sac lenh chi bao (the seal imprinting on royal edicts) is less heavy (223 liang, or 8.3kg), although it has the largest surface area (14cmx14cm). The face of other seals does not exceed 10.5cmx10.5cm.

Gold and jade seals had different functions. The Dai Viet quoc nguyen chua vinh tran chi bao (the Erernal Seal of the Nguyen Lords) dated from Nguyen Lords' time was handed down from generation to generation within the Nguyen Dynasty.

The Phong tang chi bao (Royal granting seal) and Sac menh chi bao were used for imprinting royal texts that were unused as official identification of civil and military mandarins nationwide. The Kham van chi ty (jade seal for official affairs) was applied in cultural documents for attracting scholars, hosting examinations and publishing books.

The Tri lich minh thoi chi bao (Royal seal imprinted on annual calendar) were appended to calendars, the Hoang de chi bao considered the most special gold seal of the Nguyen Dynasty was affixed to documents of national importance, and the Hoang de chi ty (Emperor's jade seal) was used on proclamations of general amnesty.

Apart from seals used for political purposes, there were other types of royal seals, one was for worshipping (when an emperor died),or for imprinting on poems and paintings, such as Tu Duc than han (Emperor Tu Duc's seal affixed to his poems and writings) and Khai Dinh

The Trieu dinh lap tin, which was presented by France to Emperor Dong Khanh in 1887, was appended to texts between the two countries. On the seal's face reads Le Gobernement de la Republique Francaise A S Dong Khanh Roi D' Annam (the French government prensents this to Dong Khanh, Emperor of Annam).

Perhaps due to their important role in the nation's history, Máy hút chân không công nghiệp there are many legends surrounding the Nguyen royal seals. After years in the hands of other owners, the Dai Viet quoc Nguyen chua vinh tran chi bao somehow made its way tot its orginal owner. The Phong cuong van co (Nation immemorial) was accidentally picket up by local inhabitants and thu thien vinh menh truyen quoc ty (The eternal jade seal handed down to the Dai Nam nation), meanwhile, was produced from a large precious gemstone found in Quang Nam province.

One seal, however, never made its way back to Vietnam: the Hoang De Chi Bao. Emperor Bao Dai handed it over to the communist government on August 30, 1945, when he abdicated the throne. The French colonial government returned it to "Head of State" Bao Dai in 1949, but it was later taken to France by Empress Nam Phuong and has been kept at the European Bank ever since.

This article written by Lanh Nguyen from Vietnam Heritage Travel For original article, please visit: website Vietnam Package Tour