Visit and enjoy Diep Dong Nguyen’s Antiques

By DOAN HOANG |

The Diep Dong Nguyen ancient house located at 80 Nguyen Thai Hoc street, Hoi An city (Quang Nam province) was built at the end of the 19th century. What a pity for anyone who visited Hoi An Ancient Town without coming to this private museum, where the glorious symbol of Hoi An trading port has been reserved through thousands of antiques…)

These unique antiques have attracted many tourists to visit Diep Dong Nguyen ancient house.
These unique antiques have attracted many tourists to visit Diep Dong Nguyen ancient house.

This special house has a big wooden front door decorated with Chinese lanterns and parallel sentences. Mr Diep Gia Tung (calling name Sung) - the house owner - has taken over his ancestors’ cultural tradition through the passion for collecting and preserving antiques. “Our Diep family came from China. We have settled in Hoi An, traded Chinese medicine, silk brocade clothing, oil and collected antiques  for nearly 500 years,”  said Mr Tung.

A small private museum

Hundreds of antiques displayed on the ground floor can make visitors dizzy when they come here.  Displaying in a glass sideboard standing at the left  side of the alley is a collection of Tang Dynasty (China) coins. These coins are contained in a pot which was fixed in the ground. At both sides of another ancient sideboard located at the center of the sitting room are two ceramic vases made from the Duong Dynasty. Mr Tung happily introduced two unique antiques he  had just bought, a two-shell peanut  like “a couple embracing together” and a Chinese enameled bowl made from the Ming-Qing Dynasty.

This bowl was made by Chu Dau ceramic craft village (Vietnam) in the 15th century
This bowl was made by Chu Dau ceramic craft village (Vietnam) in the 15th century.

On both sides of a 5m high wall, we can see Chinese ceramic vases found  in Cham Island, many Chu Dau ceramic dishes and vessels made in the 15th century (Chu Dau was a famous traditional ceramic craft village of Vietnam – Nam Sach district, Hai Duong province now). They are arranged in lines. Visitors can also find here a hundreds-year-old Shanghai chair with many ancient coins stuck together on it and the 19th century tea sets with Diep Hong Nguyen signature. Inside the room are collections of Vietnamese and Chinese currencies…

Chinese ceramic vases found  in Cham Island (Hoi An city).
Chinese ceramic vases found in Cham Island (Hoi An city).

Mr Diep Gia Tung said that he would rather collect antiques than do business. He explained in detail about the origin, price and value of each antique. In order to maintain them well, he had to learn how to preserve these ancient items from many ancient Chinese books, documents and antique collectors from Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh city. “My antiques are not only precious objects, they also contain many interesting things,” he said.

“Many Diep family’s antiques are not only precious objects, they also contain many interesting things”
“Many Diep family’s antiques are not only precious objects, they also contain many interesting things”.

Family’s precious objects

In an up-stairs room, another “world of antiques” brings us to Diep family’s history through hundreds of “colourful stories”. They is a photo collection of King Bao Dai on parade in Ngo Mon Gate (Hue city), visiting Hoi An city in the 1930s, of his wife- Queen Nam Phuong and his children. Inside a 12-square meter room is the Bao Dai’s sophisticatedly carved furniture set.

The Diep Dong Nguyen ancient house has been valued as a small museum.
The Diep Dong Nguyen ancient house has been valued as a small museum.

Fom the passion of taking photos, Photographer Vinh Tan (Diep Gia Tung’s elder brother) owns a precious photos collection with thousands of photos of Quang Nam - Danang people and landscapes, Hoi An ancient town, Diep Family in China and Hoi An from 1930 to 1975, document photos about the historical flood in the Dragon Year (1964) in Dien Ban, Duy Xuyen district and Hoi An town, the Handcraft Products Fairs organised in Hoi An under the French domination period. Especially, his photo collection of the costume and daily life of Hoi An people in the first year of  the 20th centuy (is the foundation for designers) to organise the “ Ancient Town Night” and “Walking Streets” artistic fashion programmes in Hoi An city.

After a long time to be fixed under the ground, these Tang Dynasty (China) coins linked and shaped like a jar.
After a long time to be fixed under the ground, these Tang Dynasty (China) coins linked and shaped like a jar.

...and other precious objects

On the big bookshelf are Chinese encyclopedia, Vietnamse books printed from in King Khai Dinh reign and old remedy books. Many people wanted to pay billions Vietnam Dong for this “knowledge legacy”, but Mr Tung denied. Among the “precious legacy” of Diep family), there are many historical and cultural valuable antiques kept carefully and intactly. In this house, each antique has a diffrent interesting story which its owner can tell you  for hours.

In order to maintain ancient items well, Mr Tung had to learn from ancient Chinese books and documents in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh city.
In order to maintain ancient items well, Mr Tung had to learn from ancient Chinese books and documents in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh city.

Diep Dong Nguyen house is worthy of “a special museum”. The story about Diep family, Mr Diep Gia Tung - whose passion of collecting antiques never stops – and about their house is a splendid place for tourists) to  discover, experience and enjoy…

A two-shell peanut like “a couple embracing together” was made in the Ming-Qing Dynasty.
A two-shell peanut like “a couple embracing together” was made in the Ming-Qing Dynasty.

By DOAN HOANG