Vietnamese antiquities to be sold in first-of-its-kind auction

15:43 | 16/08/2017 Society

Vietnamese antiquities and art treasures with great historical and cultural value will be auctioned on August 19 in Hanoi, marking the first time a professional auction company authorised by the Hanoi People’s Committee to sell the country’s antiquities.

A gold-plated bronze statue of General Tran Quoc Tuan, created by artisan Le Ba Chung from Kieu Ky village, is among those to be auctioned - Photo courtesy of No. 5 National Auction JSC

“All treasures that will be auctioned this time were evaluated by leading experts and we completed all necessary juridical and scientific dossiers granted by competent institutions to guarantee the quality and legality of those treasures,” said Quan Van Minh, chairman of the No.5 National Auction JSC.

Three unique antiquities on the block include a 2,000-year-old bronze vessel of the Dong Son culture; a ceramic jar with brown patterns from the Tran Dynasty (13th century), and an enamel box of the royal family from the Nguyen Dynasty (mid-19th century). The latter is a treasure of the Hue Imperial Court, which was used to contain offerings to the Kings and members of the Nguyen royal family.

Minh said Vietnamese and international collectors can buy those three antiquities, but the bronze Dong Son vessel, which has an initial price of VND995.45 million (US$43,769), cannot be allowed to leave Vietnam.

Bui Van Liem, Deputy Director of the Institute of Archaeology, explained that it was a rare antiquity and very intact, possibly one of the largest bronze vessels of Dong Son culture and never seen in museums or private collection before.

In addition to those antiquities, a jewelry set of two star ruby gemstones exploited in Yen Bai province will also be auctioned. Their initial price is set at VND1.7 billion (US$74,770). Organisers said that star ruby is one of the rarest gemstones in the world. Due to excessive exploitation, the gemstone resource seems to be depleted and is now only found in a few countries.

Five gold-plated bronze statues of 13th-century General Tran Quoc Tuan, created by artisan Le Ba Chung from Kieu Ky village, will also be auctioned.

Kieu Ky village in Gia Lam district on the outskirts of Hanoi is well-known for its gold-leaf making over the last 300 years and is also the only village in Vietnam adept at this craft. A skilled craftsman can use 3.75 grammes of gold to make a sheet of gold covering one square metre. This marks the first time products from this village are auctioned.