Collection of gilded wooden furniture, Nguyen dynasty, 19th century to early 20th century AD
The collection of gilded wooden furniture from the Nguyen dynasty is composed mostly of ritual materials such as lintels, parallel sentences, worship thrones, bells and lamps with decorative patterns including four sacred animals (dragon, unicorn, tortoise, phoenix), four sacred trees (pine, chrysanthemum, bamboo, apricot), birds (hac birds, sparrows, bats) and other motifs (coins, sun, yin-yang, longevity character, etc.). The main woods include jack fruit tree, doi tree and golden heart wood which are elastic and light to meet the requirement of being durable, aesthetic and easy to carve. To create a splendid gilded artefact, the artisan must be very talented and can estimate exactly the scale (height and width) of the ritual items. He also needs to master all production techniques, including carving and gilding. Hence, the collection of gilded wooden furniture not only reflects a prosperous life of the people under the Nguyen dynasty but also the development of our wood carving and gilding traditions along the history.