Culture Culture

10/10/2019 - 13:22

Changing the way to display artifacts at Hue Royal Antiquities Museum

Changing the way to display artifacts, making it community-friendly is what Hue Royal Antiquities Museum is doing to attract more people.

Tourists at the museum. Photo: Bao Minh

Additional perspective on the fine arts of the Nguyen Dynasty

Visiting Long An Palace from early Sept. 2019 to the end of December, 2019, tourists and the public can “meet” Emperor Thieu Tri through the exhibition about his role in the royal culture and fine arts in ancient Hue. The exhibition provides a perspective on a very prosperous stage of the royal fine arts of the Nguyen Dynasty under Emperor Thieu Tri’s reign.

Long An Palace is the main display area of Hue Royal Antiquities Museum. The museum stores and displays collections of antiques from the imperial court of the Nguyen Dynasty in ancient Hue such as: porcelain objects, Phap Lam enamel objects, royal costume, seals, musical instruments, etc. Hue Royal Antiquities Museum would reserve about 20% of the whole area of the interior of Long An Palace for periodic displays. In this way, Long An Palace always has something new for people to see.

Experiencing royal games

Well-known as an emperor who was good at letters, Emperor Thieu Tri (1841-1847) left for his descendants a huge number of literal works. Much of his poetry is carved on many royal constructions in Hue. It is of different forms and has become part of the “Heritage of Poetry on Hue Royal Architecture.”

Under Emperor Thieu Tri’s reign which lasted 7 years, Dai Nam (the name of the country at the time) was peaceful and happy.  Culture and fine arts thrived in this period, especially the royal architecture and the decorative art on objects in the imperial city such as: porcelains, Phap Lam enamel objects, lacquered and gilded objects, carving wooden objects, etc. 

The exhibition “Emperor Thieu Tri with Culture and Fine Arts in Hue Royal Palaces” is in the center of Long An Palace_the typical construction for wood carving art of the Nguyen Dynasty.

The highlights of the exhibition are the four big cabinets displaying the pictures of the 20 landscapes of the imperial capital under Emperor Thieu Tri’s reign and the photos of the same landscapes now. Besides, there is the collection of commissioned patterned porcelains and Phap Lam enamel objects at the time.

More friendly

Hue Royal Antiquities Museum manages 16 display spots and conserves 11.000 artifacts. The museum has organized many exhibitions that attracted the interest of many visitors such as: One Destination-5 Heritages, Exhibition on Country Names and Capitals of Vietnam through Historical Periods, The 100th Anniversary of An Dinh Residence and small periodic exhibitions at Truong Lang (the roofed gallery system in the Imperial City.) 

Students watching Cham artifacts

Spaces for display are scattered; facilities are limited while exhibitions need to be renewed. The museum must hence always change in both form and content.

Accordingly, together with the available artifacts of the Nguyen Dynasty, the museum has regularly collaborated with the National Museum of History to introduce to the public in Thua Thien-Hue treasures of the Nguyen Dynasty.

Prominent were such exhibitions as: Imperial Workshops under the Nguyen Dynasty with the Quintessence of Vietnamese Crafts, Flowers in Hue Imperial Court, The Dragon-Phoenix on Treasures of the Nguyen Dynasty, Goddess Worship in Royal Culture, Royal Treasures of the Nguyen Dynasty, etc.

 “Imprint of the old days” at Dien Tho Residence

Long An Palace is one of the most beautiful royal constructions in Vietnam now. However, even some people in Hue do not know it is the main display spot of Hue Royal Antiquities Museum open to local people. 

In order to change that, Hue Royal Antiquities Museum has organized on its own initiative many community-based activities especially for students in places where the relics are located or those who live in remote areas having few opportunities to visit the relics.

Every year, in the summer or on museology celebrations, the front garden in Long An Palace is rearranged to serve as a place for children to paint Hue and experience royal games. On those occasions, children are very excited to see and ask about the artifacts on display and their owners in the past.

In the future, Hue Royal Antiquities Museum will build a space for community activities. It will be a way to bridge the gap between the museum and the public, as well as to bring the royal cultural heritage closer to the contemporary life.

Story and photos: Dong Van