A rare, historically-significant title conferral document released by a king of the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945), the country’s last monarchy rule, has recently been found in the former imperial city of Hue in central Thua Thien- Hue province, while four cannons also from the Nguyen period have also been unearthed in Ho Chi Minh City.
According to the HCMC General Science Library, the conferral document, kept at the Vo Ta lineage house in Hue City’s Thuan Hoa ward, was released in August 1885 by King Ham Nghi, the 8th king of the Nguyen Dynasty.
King Ham Nghi (1871 – 1943) is one of the country’s three patriotic Nguyen kings during the French rule back then.
The recipient of the king’s conferral document, written in ancient Vietnamese hieroglyph, is Vo Khoa, a high-rank court official.
From May 1885 when the group of court officials set on fighting against the French troops was overpowered, King Ham Nghi left his court and went into hiding with his two regents, who were leading a nationwide insurrection against the French.
It’s widely believed that the king bestowed the conferral document on Khoa during that time.
While the king and his comrades waged a guerrilla war against the French occupation forces, the French replaced Ham Nghi with his brother, Dong Khanh.
Ham Nghi was active in calling for feudal intellectuals and common people to join the uprising against the French invader.
In October 1888, after a series of setbacks, Ham Nghi was then turned over to French officers. Two months later he was exiled to Algeria, where he died in 1943.
In a similar vein, four cannons dating back to the Nguyen Dynasty have also been unearthed in what used to be a ship building factory in district 2’s Thu Thiem ward in HCMC.
According to a recent preliminary survey by the city’s High Command and HCMC Museum, the four cannons were made from an alloy other than brass, which has sustained serious rust and damage.
On one of the cannons was written three ancient Chinese characters, which suggested that the weapon date back to 1824, the 5th year during the reign of King Minh Mang, the second Nguyen king.
The four cannons are quite similar in size. One of them is relatively intact and is 1.78m long, while the three others have only some parts left.
The HCMC Museum representative said that the museum will soon take over the cannons.