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Nguyen Dynasty art works sold in US

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1 Nguyen Dynasty art works sold in US on Sat May 14, 2011 8:18 pm


HCM CITY — Bookseller Eric Chaim Kline of California in the US recently sold a manuscript about the Nam Giao Festival of the Nguyen Dynasty to an antiques collector.

Viet Nam was slow and unable to buy Grande Tenue de la Cour D'Annam, (Festive Costumes of An Nam Court), Nam Giao Manuscript, which was offered for sale for US$35,000 on the bookseller's website last March.

The manuscript comprises 54 pages illustrated with watercolours depicting costumes and courtiers at the Nam Giao Festival. All of the paintings are in good condition.

The illustrations have captions noting personal names and titles in French and Chinese. They were created by Nguyen Van Nhan in Hue, in December 12, 1902, under the Nguyen Dynasty, Viet Nam's last royalty, which ruled from 1802 to 1945.

The Nam Giao Festival was an important royal ceremony to pray for peace and prosperity.

News in the manuscript was printed in the May 1, 2011 issue of Tuoi Tre Cuoi Tuan (Youth Weekend) magazine.

"The Hue Centre for Relics Conservation contacted the US bookseller right after reading the news printed in Youth Weekend," said the centre deputy director Phan Thanh Hai.

"However, we're told that it was already sold to a collector whose name is not disclosed, " Hai said.

Hai said he regretted that his centre again could not buy the valuable artwork of the Nguyen Dynasty.

It could not buy Chieu Taø or Decline du Jour (Sunset), an oil on canvas by King Ham Nghi, at an auction in Paris last year.

The centre submitted a bid of 8,000 euros (US$11,784) for the painting but the highest bid was 8,800 euros ($12,962).

King Ham Nghi painted Chieu Taø in 1915 while in exile in Algeria. The eighth ruler of the Nguyen dynasty, ascended to the throne in 1884.

He led the Can Vuong resistance movement against the French and was arrested in 1888 and exiled in Algeria, where he died in 1943. — VNS

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