The last feudal dynasty of Vietnam in Hue City went through many historical events. Tens of thousands of rare artifacts of the Nguyen Dynasty have been lost.
According to Dr. Phan Thanh Hai, Director of the Centre for Conservation of Hue Monuments, from the eighteenth century, the nobility of Hue was interested in collecting antiques and purchasing valuable items.
Researcher Phan Thuan An said that in the golden age of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), palaces and temples in the royal citadel as well as the tombs were decorated with and stored a lot of precious objects, which were the most valuable things in the country.
Working for years in the colony, Robert R. de la Susse is a French official who had deep understanding of and loved Vietnamese culture. In an opportunity to visit the Hue royal citadel in the early 1910s, after seeing artifacts in Can Chanh and Phung Tien palaces, he called these places “museums”.
A royal rickshaw that Hue conservation authorities have retrieved from France after more than a century is coming home this month, and it might inspire more efforts to get back the other rickshaw and more lost antiques.
Phan Thanh Hai, director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Center, said the rickshaw would arrive in Vietnam on April 14 from the Vietnamese embassy in France which has the relic now.
The rickshaw was made by King Thanh Thai, the 10th emperor of Vietnam’s last dynasty, the Nguyens, who ruled in Hue, for his Mother Queen Tu Minh.
Thanh Thai, who ruled from 1889 to 1907, was known as a patriotic king and was one of three rulers – including his predecessor Ham Nghi and his son Duy Tan – to be dethroned and banished for opposing the French colonizers.