A stone seal used by King Tu Duc (Photo: VNA)

Thua Thien-Hue (VNS/VNA) - More than 80 precious items carved with dragons and phoenixes are on display in the former imperial capital city of Hue to celebrate 25 years since UNESCO awarded the title of World Heritage Site to the complex of monuments in the city.

The exhibits include those borrowed from the Vietnam Museum of National History in Hanoi and several owned by the Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities.

The exhibition is taking place at the royal antiquities museum at 3 Le Truc Street in Hue, starting on September 14 and ending on December 5. Tickets can be purchased in the city.

Phan Thanh Hai, Director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre - a local government body managing relics built by the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945) in the city - said all displayed items were from the dynasty.

Hai added that this year marks 25 years since UNESCO recognised the dynasty’s relic system as a world cultural heritage and 15 years since the UN cultural body listed nha nhac (Hue royal court music) as an intangible heritage of humanity.

The displayed items were used in dressing, daily use and administration by kings and other royal members. They are made of rare, precious materials including gold, silver and precious stones.

Every item in the exhibition is engraved with symbols of dragons or phoenixes, using techniques of carving or embossment.

According to researchers, dragons and phoenixes were among the four sacred animals in Vietnamese spiritual culture, along with kylins and turtles. The use of dragons and phoenixes on the royal items were to show the power of the monarchy.

Dragons are present on all items designed for males and are rarely seen on those for females. Phoenixes were popular for female items and sometimes carved on the male items as well.-VNS/VNA