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The royal treasures of the Nguyen dynasty

Among the National Treasures of Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities, the collection of bronze cauldrons, the nine holy cannons and the nine dynasty urns are considered sophisticated bronze artifacts, symbolizing the strength and solemnity of the Nguyen dynasty.


The collection of bronze cauldrons 

The collection of bronze cauldrons was composed of 10 cauldrons in different sizes and weight, cast under the reign of Lord Nguyen Phuc Tan (1648-1687) to symbolize the power and the longentry of the Dang Trong (Inner region) government.

In 2015, the collection of bronze cauldrons was recognized as the national treasures of Vietnam.

The bronze cauldrons were cast at different times in the 17th century, the one with the earliest date is 1659 and the latest one is 1684.

Notably, the two cauldrons located in the courtyard of Can Chanh Palace in the Imperial Citadel of Hue are the largest and heaviest. These include one in front of Ta Vu house, cast in 1660 and one in front of Huu Vu house, cast in 1662 under the reign of King Thinh Duc. They are 2.2m in diameter and one meter in height.

In addition to the traditional decorative motifs of Vietnam such as the Bodhi leaf, flowers, birds, dragon-shaped handles, on the Bronze Cauldrons there are strange decorative motifs of Western style art. This shows that these cauldrons were most likely cast under the guidance of foreigners during their stay in the Dang Trong government that was quite popular at that time.

 

In 2015, the collection of bronze cauldrons was recognized as the national treasures of Vietnam.

 The collection of bronze cauldrons is placed at Can Chanh courtyard in Hue Imperial Citadel. 
The handles of the urns are shaped like twisted and sturdy ropes. 

 

Nine Holy Cannons 

The Nine Holy Cannons were cast in 1803 under the reign of king Gia Long (1802-1820). They share the same dimensions, 5.15 m in length and over 10 tons in weight.

Each cannon was marked from number 1 to 9 and carved with its name after the four seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter) and five elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth) respectively.

The usage instruction of the gunpowder, the method of shooting and the name of the cannon casters were carved on the cannon body. In 1816, all of them were entitled “The Holy Majestic Unbeatable Senior Lieutenant General” by king Gia Long. This title and the date were formed as bas-reliefs at the back belt of these cannons.

Nine Holy Cannons were originally set on two sides in front of Ngo Mon main gate. In 1917, they were moved to the present place.

In 2012, Nine Holy Cannons were recognized as the national treasures of Vietnam.

Nine Holy Cannons, a set of nine bronze cannons, were recognized as the national treasures of Vietnam in 2012. 
They share the same dimensions, 5.15 m in length and over 10 tons in weight.
Nine Holy Cannons were cast by artisans from Hue. 

Nine Dynastic Urns

Outstanding symbols of the country’s immortal reign and wealth, Nine Dynastic Urns were cast from 1835 to 1837 under the reign of Minh Mang emperor (1820-1841).

The intact urns, placed inside The To Temple in the Hue Imperial Citadel (Dai Noi) for over 200 years, were all cast in bronze. Each one, about two meters tall and weigh up to 2,600 kg, commemorates a king of the Nguyen Dynasty, which ruled Vietnam from 1802 to 1945.

The urns can also be considered a “geographic encyclopedia” of Vietnam in the 19th century with carved patterns exquisitely embossed on their surface depicting landscapes and daily activities across the country, including images of typical plants and animals.

The Nine Dynastic Urns were recognized as a national treasure in 2012. The Hue Monuments Conservation Centre has completed the compilation of a dossier for the national treasure of “Cuu dinh” (Nine Dynastic Urns) to seek recognition as a world documentary heritage.

 

Cuu dinh was recognized as a national treasure in 2012, and considered the most valuable bronze works in Vietnam. A dossier for the national treasure of Cuu dinh was submitted to seek UNESCO recognition as a world documentary heritage.
The nine dynastic urns are placed in The Mieu temple yard in the Imperial City. 
Lotus patterns carved on Cuu dinh.

By Thanh Hoa Translated by Hong Hanh

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