Making news

Exploring two national treasures at Hung Yen Pagoda

The Red River Delta province of Hung Yen is currently home to five national treasures, two of which are kept at Huong Lang Pagoda - an ancient Buddhist temple in Minh Hai commune, Van Lam district.

Huong Lang Pagoda, also called Lang Pagoda, is one of the oldest of its kind in Vietnam. Dating back to the Ly Dynasty (1009 - 1225), it was built under the order of Queen Mother Y Lan in the 11th century.

Aside from worshipping Buddha, it is also dedicated to the queen mother, who made great contributions to national governance and the development of Buddhism during the Ly Dynasty.

The pagoda was destroyed during the resistance war against the French, but restoration started in 1955. It was listed as a national architectural - artistic relic site by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 1974.

Huong Lang Pagoda is one of the few Buddhist temples with architectural and sculptural imprints of the Ly era in Vietnam, according to the ministry’s Department of Cultural Heritage.

The unique objects from the Ly era stand out. Among them, two are national treasures, namely a stone lion statue and a stone staircase dating back to the late 11th - early 12th century.

The stone lion statue, made from bluestone and sandstone, measures 280cm in length, 350cm in width, and 175cm in height. It comprises a base, a body, and an upper part which is a lotus-shaped base supporting a statue of Buddha.

The statue was made from many stone slabs assembled so tightly that it looks like a single block. It is fully covered with sophisticatedly carved patterns, giving the statue an elegant aura – a typical feature of the art of sculpture in the Ly Dynasty.

The stone staircase system is also a priceless sculptural work. Its six half walls, decorated with sophisticated patterns, divide the staircase into five paths to the main Buddhist temple.

Though the staircase system was partly damaged, its sophistication is proof of Huong Lang Pagoda’s size at the time it was built.

Experts said the stone lion statue and the stone staircase reflect Ly-era arts, which are imposing but elegant and deeply imbued with the wisdom of people and religious values at that time.

This characteristic is an important basis for differentiating the arts of the Ly Dynasty with those of following dynasties.

In addition, Huong Lang Pagoda is also home to many other stone architectural works serving as important materials for researchers to study the arts of architecture and sculpture a thousand years ago.

Thanks to its special cultural, architectural, and historical values, the pagoda is now an attractive destination for visitors from far and wide.

Apart from the two national treasures at Huong Lang Pagoda, two other treasures of Hung Yen are being preserved at local pagodas and one at the State Treasury branch in the province.

Hung Yen is home to a large number of relic sites appreciated in terms of history, architecture and fine arts.

The province boasts more than 1,802 relic sites and over 400 traditional festivals.

It is also the hometown of many national heroes and men of culture, such as King Trieu Viet Vuong, who reigned from 548 - 571; Pham Ngu Lao, a general in the Tran Dynasty in the 14th century; Hoang Hoa Tham, who led the Yen The Uprising against the French colonial forces between 1884 - 1913; and late General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Van Linh, who initiated the country’s Doi moi (Renewal) period./.