The Ho Chi Minh City History and Fine Arts Museums are collaborating on the country's first French Antique Exhibition, which will open until June of next year.
The exhibition, which opened on November 14, showcases more than 100 items including ceramic pots, statues, oil lamps and lamp fittings.
Among the exhibits include a pair of Bertin vases, named after the owner of a national pottery factory in Sèvres, a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris.
Antoine Francois Dalacour, cast the vases using molds in 1859 and Léopold Joseph Gély decorated the reliefs using kaolin powder.
The series of four seasonal vases was exhibited to international audiences before being submitted to Napoléon III, who was Emperor of the French between 1852 and 1871.
Few details are available about how the Spring and Winter vases ended up in Vietnam.
On display is also a dining set of 26 white-glazed items used by the French upper classes.
Blue patterns on the pieces reflect a marriage of Eastern and Western culture.
For example, a pair of plates featuring seven men taking tea and chess in a bamboo garden, a very Eastern context. Though the men are dressed in Eastern clothes, their faces are Western.
An inscription on the pieces says they were produced in the 19th century at Jules Vieillard & Cie factory in southwestern France.
Another plate, dated 1793, depicts Fouquier Tinville, a French prosecutor who earned the reputation as one of the most sinister figures of the Revolution for prosecuting Queen Marie Antoinette, French nobleman and chemist Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier, Princess Élisabeth of France and the youngest sibling of King Louis XVI, Madame du Barry and official mistress of Louis XV.
Among the bronze antiques was a statue of Napoléon Bonaparte (1808 - 1873) astride a horse, which was modeled after a Jacques Louis David’s photograph taken between 1800 and 1803 showing the French military and political leader crossing the Grand Saint Bernard Pass in the Alps on his way to Italy.
The antiques will remain on display at the Ho Chi Minh City History Museum [No.2 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, District 1] until June 30, 2015.