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Bảo tàng lịch sử Quốc gia

Vietnam National Museum of History

10/01/2019 15:56 785
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Sanh Mon Ha Seal is one of 30 representative museum pieces that have been recognized by the prime minister as national treasures in first review by the decision 1426/QĐTTg on October 1th 2012. The name of the seal sounds as pronunciation of 4 Chinese characters of seal style in the face of the seal.

Sanh Mon Ha Seal is one of 30 representative museum pieces that have been recognized by the prime minister as national treasures in first review by the decision 1426/QĐTTg on October 1th 2012. The name of the seal sounds as pronunciation of 4 Chinese characters of seal style in the face of the seal. 

According to archival documents of National Museum of History and submittal documents to Council of experts of Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism the seal was found in |Huong Giang commune, Huong Khe district, HaTinh province in 1962. Today, the seal is being demonstrated in Vietnam National Museum of History. The seal’s got registered number LSb.25266 in national registry of treasures and it has been introduced in the book of  “Antiquities of  Vietnam” on page 98, picture 119 (Luu Tran Tieu, chairman of council of experts 2003)

The seal was cast in evenly three stage square graded form with the height of 8.5 cm, the face of the seal has got square form 7.3x7.3 cm and it weights 1.4 kg. Handle of the seal has a form of rectangle with curved upper side like the form of stele. There are 2 Chinese inscriptions engraved in 2 lateral faces of the seal, on the right face were engraved 4 characters pronouncing as “Môn hạ sảnh ấn”, on the left face were engraved 11 characters with the meaning: “Made on fifth month, 23rd day, fifth Long Khanh lunar year under the King of Tran Due Tong (1377)” 

http://www.baotanglichsu.vn/Uploaded/image/data%20Hung/thang%204%20nam%202017/an%20sanh%20mon%20ha/1.jpg

Bronze seal: Môn hạ sảnh ấn – age 1377 (The King of Trần Duệ Tông).

There was protruding inscription of 4 characters “Môn hạ sảnh ấn” in seal style on the face of the seal with the meaning “the seal of Mon ha sanh”. Formerly in feudal Vietnam, Mon ha sanh was a central government body together with 2 other bodies as Thuong thu sanh and Trung thu sanh thus they were 3 most powerful government bodies in Tran kingdom. Thuong thu sanh had a duty to assist chancellery organize the works related to officials and it had a top officer called “Hành khiển Thượng thư”. The post of Hanh Khien was most powerful post that overrode the posts of  Lệnh thị lang ,Tả Hữu ty Lang trung. Sảnh Trung thư, it covered all significant state affairs. Mon ha sanh was a closest to King government body and it had a duty to keep and save all rituals, seal of the king, to hand over king’s decrees to officials, Mon ha sanh was also control authority for every decision before its implementation. Mon ha sanh officials were  outstanding and famous peoples: in 6th Khai Thai lunar year under Tran Minh Tong king (1329), the Mon ha sanh post was appointed to Hữu Ty Lang Trung, the post of Nhập Nội Hành Khiển was appointed to Vu Nghieu Ta (the book of Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư,1972,v.2, p.135). In 11th  Khai Huu lunar year (1339), king Tran Hien Tong had appointed Truong Han Sieu to the post of  Hữu Ty Lang Trung  and Mon ha sanh and ordered him together with Nguyen Trung Ngan to arrange the book of  Hoàng Triều đại điển and revise the decree of  Hình Thư  before publication (the book of Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư,1972,v.2, p.147). Although this people were appointed Mon ha sanh post, many of them also had carried double jobbing: in 5th Dai Tri lunar year (1362), Mon ha sanh official Pham Su Manh was additionally appointed by Tran Du Tong king the post of Tri khu mật viện sự (the book of Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư,1972,v.2, p.165). At the beginning of 1st Thieu Khanh lunar year (1370), king Tran Nghe Tong had appointed Nguyen Nhien the post of  Hành Khiển Tả Tham Tri chính sự (the book of Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư,1972,v.2, p.174).

Cast in 1377 Sanh Mon Ha bronze seal was being used for sealing significant documents of kingdom since the king of Tran Phe De.

The seal is now being demonstrated in main demonstration sector of National Museum of History together with the collection of coins of Tran dynasties as interpreting organization scheme of state power in Tran dynasties. It’s an evidence for researching central organization of power in Tran dynasties. The seal makes the seeing at the museum more interesting.

http://www.baotanglichsu.vn/Uploaded/image/data%20Hung/thang%204%20nam%202017/an%20sanh%20mon%20ha/2.jpg

Protruding inscription of 4 characters in seal style “Môn hạ sảnh ấn”  on the face of the seal.

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Print of “Môn hạ sảnh ấn” seal.

There is an interesting question about this seal: For some unknown reason the seal has been found so far away from capital of those times in Ha Tinh province, why? Maybe the reason is conflicts with the kingdom Champa which existed in the period 1377-1397 with all the ensuing consequences? Maybe King’s escort got into troubles and lost the treasure of kingdom? These reasons need more evidences. 

The seal has been found in 1962 and because of its significance for history, the replica of this seal has been made for Ha Tinh museum before handing over to Vietnam Museum of History at that time. On mission trip in the Middle of Vietnam by the council of experts on may 2013, doctor Pham Quoc Quan and your obedient servant had examined the replica in Ha Tinh museum. By this case, doctor Quan wrote the article “notes for a National trearure” that has been publicized in Ha Tinh museum website.

Besides the Ấn sảnh Môn hạ seal, there is not so much information about other seals of Tran dynasties. In 1999 at the conference about new finds in archeology doctor Ha Van Tan introduced “ a seal of Tran dynasties which has been found in Guangxi, China” (Hà Văn Tấn,2000,p.655). this is a bronze seal with handle of 2.6 cm high, square face 5 cm x 5 cm with thickness 1 cm. There is a protruding inscription of 6 characters in 2 rows of seal style in the face of the seal, each row contains 3 characters  “Bình Tường thổ châu chi ấn (the seal of Binh Tuong land). According to Nguyen Cong Viet, “Binh Tuong land” is now Chinese town of Pingxeng ”(Nguyễn Công Việt, 2005, p.76). On the right from handle side an inscription of 4 characters engraved in Chan thu style “Đại Trị ngũ niênthat means: 5th Dai Tri lunar year (1362). On the left from handle side an inscription of 5 characters “Nhâm Dần tứ nguyệt chú that means: cast  in 4th month of Nham Dan lunar year. The nguyet character was engraved especially without horizontal dash that exactly conforms to naming taboo writing rules of Tran dynasties. It’s strong evidence for determining the age of the seal. This seal was found in Long Lac mountain, Nghia Vu commune, Dien Dong district, Guangxi province, China in 1983 and it has been examined and introduced by professor  Tanaguchi Fusao (Japan) in the journal “annual research” number 31, Mach 1997, p. 176-188 by Asian-African cultural research center of Tokyo university.

In 2012, in Han Nom journal associated professor, doctor Nguyen Cong Viet has introduced a bronze seal named “Tam Giang khẩu tuần kiểm ty ấn. The seal has a handle in pestle form with bigger lower part and it gradually gets narrow in the top. The seal has the height of 7.3 cm, square face 5.7 cm x 5.7 cm, on the face a protruding inscription of 7 characters of seal style in 3 columns, On the right from handle side an inscription of 7 characters of Chan thu style “Tam Giang khẩu tuần kiểm ty ấn. According to the author, the age of the seal has been estimated in Dai Khanh lunar year (1314-1323), in the case of proper estimation, the seal Tam Giang khẩu tuần kiểm ty ấnwould be oldest administrative seal found in Vietnam. (Nguyễn Công Việt,2012, p.12-18).

Until now, findings of bronze seal of feudal Vietnamese regimes are very rare, thereby, the  Ấn sảnh Môn hạ seal which has clearest information, age and other features related to Tran dynasty administration is deservedly considered as National Treasure.

Doctor Nguyen Dinh Chien

Translator: Nguyen Thai Hung


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