The US yesterday handed over restored royal items from Hue valued at US$29,084 and gave the city’s conservation centre $700,000 to fund preservation of a building inside the former Royal Palace.
US Ambassador to Viet Nam Ted Osius returned three restored wooden altars to the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre. The altars were used in worshipping rituals at the palace’s Trieu To Temple, which is renowned for its ceremonies honouring ancestors from the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945).
The temple’s structure and royal altars have decayed over time, so the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation gave money to help Hue save the monuments from being lost to time. “Viet Nam’s cultural heritage tells the nation’s history, and an important part of that history was written here in Hue,” Osius said when he handed over the altars during a ceremony yesterday.
“The success we achieve here in Hue will be a powerful symbol of strong relations between the peoples of the US and Viet Nam for generations to come.”
A local artisan has been working on conserving the altars since January 2014.
Trieu To Temple was one of the palace’s key buildings, created for worshipping Nguyen Kim, whose decesdants were Nguyen lords (1558-1777) in Hue.
According to Phan Thanh Hai, the centre’s director, the temple was first built in 1804 and was restored once in 1985. “The temple is in critical condition, and the US’s assistance is significant for restoring the building, which embodies the Vietnamese tradition of ancestor worship,” Hai said.
At the ceremony, Osius also gave the centre $700,000 to restore the front part of the building, which was made from wood 200 years ago. He also pledged more assistance from the US to preserve the former Imperial City.
Nguyen Dung, deputy chairman of the province’s People’s Committee, said the assistance showed the US’s respect for local Vietnamese culture and would help bolster the countries’ relationship.