The display is arranged into categories ranging from prehistoric times to the 10th century, from the 11th century BC to the 18th century and from the 19th century to the modern age. Documents, photographs and artifacts displayed in the exhibit support and reaffirm Vietnam's sovereignty in the East Sea.
"The documents, photographs, and typical artifacts used in the exhibition are vivid evidence of Vietnam's strong integration and important contribution in the history of the formation and operation of the system of international maritime trading. At the same time, there is also the historical message of Viet Nam's long-standing and continuous sovereignty in the East Sea," said Nguyen Van Cuong, director of the National Museum of History.
Archaeological discoveries in Vietnam's coastal region's of the prehistoric period show that inhabitants of these areas not only had close and enduring ties with one another, but also traded and interacted with regions further afield, including peoples and populations of southern mainland China, modern-day Taiwan, and various other regions of Southeast Asia.
To illustrate the period, pottery tools used in productive labour and shells serving as the food of ancient people are on display.
After regaining independence, the Dinh, Le, Ly, Tran and later-Le dynasties sought to consolidate and develop Dai Viet (the then name of Viet Nam) into a powerful and important Southeast Asian realm.
Thanks to the well-crafted foreign trade policies of this great pre-modern dynasty, Vietnam continued to be attractive to foreign merchant ships through the two important gateways of Van Don (in the northern province of Quang Ninh) and Thi Nai (in the central coastal province of Binh Dinh).
In particular, the production and export of ceramics fed the powerful demands of Japanese, Southeast and West Asian markets. These were all trends attesting to the strong integration of Vietnam into the great pre-modern system of international maritime trade.
The worldwide voyages of European overseas exploration and discovery vessels gave rise to a great "commercial revolution" in Western Europe. This led to the creation of new maritime trading networks linking the regions of the East Sea to other lands and continents. In this period, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, English, French and other traders became directly involved in trade with Dai Viet. In response, the domains of the Trinh Lords (in the north of Vietnam) and the Nguyen Lords (in the south of Vietnam) were opened and integrated strongly into this system.
In this category, the exhibition showcases objects relating to the different cultures of Thailand, Japan, China and Europe.
Visitors can also reach a better understanding of Viet Nam's sovereignty over the territorial waters marked and identified through maps and documents under the Nguyen Dynasty.
The exhibition will run until November 30, 2012.
Some antiques introduced at the exhibition:
Pottery items of 3,000-4,000 years ago.
Jewelry made of gemstone and glass of 2,000-2,500 years ago.
Bronze-made human shaped lamp support of 2,000-2,500 years ago.
Metal coins of the 5-6th centures, Oc Eo civilisation.
Pottery vase of the Early Le Dynasty, 15th century.
Pottery items of the 16-17th centuries.
Silver-covered perfume bottle and glass bottle of the
19th, 20th centuries (Nguyen Dynasty).