Bronze. 1377 (Tran Hue Tong Dynasty)
Height: 8.5cm; length: 7.3cm; width: 7.3cm.
Discovered in Huong Giang commune, Huong Khe district, Ha Tinh province.
Discovered in 1962, the bronze royal seal “Môn hạ sảnh ấn” is the only royal seal from the Tran dynasty thus far found in Vietnam. It is a key symbol of the power and authority of the ruling dynasty and was used to enact royal decrees, reflecting the high level of administrative organisation achieved in the Tran period of imperial rule.
The seal has a spuare face and was made in three sections; the handle is rectangular and the top part is curved, its form therefore much like that of a stele.
There are two lines of Chinese text carved on its back. The line on the right reads “Môn hạ sảnh ấn” (Seal of the Môn Hạ Hall). The line on the left hand side, which is composed of 11 Chinese words, says “Long Khánh ngũ niên, ngũ nguyệt, nhị thập tam nhật tạo” (made on the 23rd day of the 5th lunar month of the 5th year of Long Khánh reign (King Trần Duệ Tông, 1377). The square face, which is 7.3cm x 7.3cm, is inscribed with four seal script characters “Môn hạ sảnh ấn”.
This is a very precious and rare patrimonial artefact of the Tran dynasty, a highly developed royal reign of Vietnam, distinguished by the achievements of celebrated imperial heroes who won three major battles against Mongol invaders.