The Center for Preservation of Hue Relics has opened an exhibition, introducing 20 beauty spots of the former capital city of Hue, through lacquer paintings by calligrapher Hai Trung, who is also director of the Museum of Hue Royal Antiques.
The 20 beauty spots of Hue, or “Than kinh nhi thap canh,” is the named set of poems by King Thieu Tri of the Nguyen Dynasty. These poems describe the beauty of 20 landscapes of Hue, including seven natural and 13 artificial or natural-artificial landscapes. They are ranked as follows:
1. Minh Vien tower in the Forbidden City; 2.Thieu Phuong garden in the Forbidden City; 3.Tinh Tam Lake in Hue city; 4.Xuan Quang royal garden in Hue city; 5.Dac Nguyet royal garden in the Forbidden City; 6.Noi Kim Thuy lake in Hue city; 7.Truong Ninh palace in Hue city; 8.Thuong Mau garden in Hue city, 9.Thanh Duyen temple on Thuy Van mountain; 10.Thuan An beach.
11. Huong river; 12.Ngu Binh mountain; 13.Linh Huu Taoism Temple in Hue city; 14.Thien Mu pagoda; 15.the landscape in the upstream Huong River; 16.Ha Trung lagoon; 17.Giac Hoang pagoda in Hue city; 18.Quoc Tu Giam school; 19.Dong Lam forest in Huong Thuy district, 20.Huong Tra hot spring.
In 1844-1845, these poems were printed in books, with illustration pictures and carved on stone steles and bronze pieces. The glass pictures of these landscapes were also hung in palaces and painted on ceramic items.
At present, only 20 pictures in a book entitled “Ngu de Do Hoi Thi Tap” are intact. Bronze pieces have disappeared while 7 out of 12 stone steles have been found, besides five glass paintings and only one ceramic palate featuring Thanh Duyen temple on Thuy Van Mountain.
Based on the 20 pictures in the “Ngu de Do Hoi Thi Tap” book, calligrapher Hai Trung created 20 lacquer paintings in ten months.
These lacquer paintings are now on displayed at Truong Lang in the Forbidden City of Hue.
The first landscape: Trung Minh Vien Chieu – Minh Vien tower in the Forbidden City of Hue. This work was built in only one month, in 1827, under the dynasty of King Minh Mang. This tower is similar to Hien Lam Cac, the highest tower in the Hue citadel in the past. This work has disappeared. Only its foundation is left today.
The second landscape: Thieu Phuong garden in the Forbidden City. This work does not exist today. There is only one gate left.
Tinh Tam Lake used to the place where kings relaxed. Today, only Tinh Tam Than Tu Temple is maintained. The Center for Preservation of Hue Relics has opened souvenir shops and a coffee shop on the lake since April 2012.
Xuan Quang garden is among famous royal gardens of the Nguyen Dynasty, covering over 540m in perimeter, with many temples, houses, ponds, bridges, etc. However, all materials were removed to build Co Ha garden under the reign of King Thieu Tri.
Dac Nguyet garden was a famous royal garden in the early Nguyen Dynasty. Today only Ngoc Dich, Tieu Ngu Ha lakes and some rockworks are left.
Noi Kim Thuy Lake. There were many construction works on the lake in the past but today, only several islets and relics are left.
Truong Ninh palace used to be the home of some concubines after kings died. The palace was restored in 2008.
Thuong Mau garden, which has disappeared.
Thanh Duyen temple is among four national pagodas in Hue, besides Thien Mu, Dieu De and Bao Quoc. Today, the temple is located in Phu Loc district.
Thuan An beach is a famous tourist site of Hue today.
Truong Lang corridor.
Huong (perfume) River.
Ngu Binh Mountain.
Linh Huu Taoism Temple, which does not exist today.
Thien Mu pagoda, a tourist attraction today.
The landscape in the upstream Huong River.
Ha Trung lagoon.
Giac Hoang Temple, which does not exist today.
Quoc Tu Giam School was built in 1803 by King Gia Long. It is now the office of the Thua Thien – Hue Revolutionary History Museum.
Dong Lam forest.
Huong Tra hot spring is located in Huong Thuy town. This spring will disappear when Ta Trach reservoir stores water for power generation.
Truong Lang corridor in the Forbidden City has been restored.
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