RELICS

GIẾNG THIÊN QUANG

 

         Giếng “Thiên Quang”, hay còn gọi là “Thiên Quang Tỉnh” nằm chính giữa khu vườn bia Tiến sĩ. Giếng Thiên Quang hình vuông mỗi cạnh 30m, lan can trang trí gạch men xanh. Nước giếng quanh năm tràn đầy, như tấm gương phản chiếu bầu trời. Giếng mang tên “Thiên Quang” có ý nghĩa là “Ánh sáng trời”.

 

          Về mặt kiến trúc cảnh quan, giếng Thiên Quang như được ứng đối với công trình kiến trúc nghệ thuật Khuê Văn Các phía trên, hai bên giếng là tám dãy nhà bia Tiến sĩ. Dáng hình Khuê Văn Các kết hợp với dãy nhà bia cùng vườn cây cổ thụ xung quanh soi bóng xuống mặt nước trong xanh và tĩnh lặng tạo nên một khung cảnh hữu tình, đa sắc rất ấn tượng với những giá trị tinh thần sâu đậm. Nơi đây đã trở thành một trong những điểm check in độc đáo của du khách khi đến thăm quan di tích Văn Miếu – Quốc Tử Giám.

 

Chúng ta cùng ngắm không gian xanh mát của giếng Thiên Quang trong khu vườn bia Tiến sĩ nhé!

 

Giếng Thiên Quang quanh năm phản chiếu hình ảnh Khuê Văn Các lung linh

 

Giếng Thiên Quang và cổng Đại Thành

 

Một góc giếng Thiên Quang và dãy bia Tiến sĩ bên tây

 

Các bạn nhỏ thích thú ngắm đàn cá vàng bơi lội tung tăng trong lòng giếng

 

Các em học sinh chụp ảnh kỉ niệm bên giếng Thiên Quang và Khuê Văn Các

 

Du khách chụp ảnh lưu niệm bên giếng Thiên Quang và Khuê Văn Các

AV


Bich Ung bell at Bai Duong House

In 1768, The Principal of Quoc Tu Giam school, Nguyen Nghiem gave an order for a bell called Bich Ung to be casted. Since then, the bell has been hung at the Bai Duong House in Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam.

Nguyen Nghiem (1708-1775) was a native of  Tien Dien commune, Nghi Xuan district(Now Tien Dien commune, Nghi Xuan district, Ha Tinh province). At his age of 24, he passed the royal exam held in 1731 under the reign of  King Le Duy Phuong, then he worked as a mandarin in the Royal court. In 1767,  he was appointed as The leader of Quoc Tu Giam school, taking in charge of looking after the training of students at this school. He was father of  Nguyen Khan ( Principal of Quoc Tu Giam) and of the Great poet of Vietnam, Nguyen Du.

The Bich Ung bell

In 1768, Nguyen Nghiem asked the Court for permission to cast one big bell and 4 smaller bells that would be hung at Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam. when his request was accepted , he and some teachers of Quoc Tu Giam took in charge of  the bell casting. Nowadays,  there is only the big  Bich Ung bell left.

The bell is 109cm high, and  has a diameter of 56cm.  It has a Dragon-shaped handle. The dragon has two heads, four legs, big nose, close-set eyes, and has a gem ball in its mouth. Around the dragon was decorated with fire clouds. The bell body is decorated with stylized flowers, leaves and Chinese characters.  The bell mouth is decorated with lotus.  There are four flower-shaped striking points around its body.

The bell body has four Chinese characters: "Bich Ung big bell". The text on the bell indicates the year when the bell was casted  as well as  name of the person who had ordered to cast the bell.

Today, Bich Ung bell has become one of the precious artifacts at the Special National Landmark Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam.

LH

 

 


ĐẠI TRUNG GATE

From the main gate of the Temple of Literature, there are three paved roads. The center road leads to Dai Trung gate and the two small roads on both sides lead to two small gates named Thanh Duc and Dat Tai.

 

 

Dai Trung gate has architectural style of the post-Le period. The building is designed with three sectors without doors. The high ground is paved with Bat Trang bricks, lined with stones, elevated with stairs creating a sense of solemnity. The roof is decorated with tiles curved upwards. On both sides of the main gate, there are three pillars in a row. The middle pillar supports the roof. Two carps are embossed on the roof, reminiscing the legend "Carp jumping over the Dragon Gate", symbolizing the spirit of overcoming difficulties and the perseverance to acquire knowledge to reach success. All throughout history, students who want to succeed in studying must be diligent and push themselves to the limit. The names of the two small gates Thanh Duc and Dat Tai means to educate people to be virtuous, talented and helpful to society.


NHẬP ĐẠO COURTYARD

Nhập Đạo (Entrance to the Way) is the first courtyard. The first lesson for students to learn is how to behave respectfully. Acquiring knowledge comes later, with the final goal of becoming both talented and virtuous.

The Nhập Đạo courtyard is a relatively new architectural item built in nineteenth century under the Nguyễn dynasty (1802-1945). Similar to other walled courtyards, the garden in Nhập Đạo is symmetrically designed along a central axis. The central path (Hoàng Đạo) used to be for the king and high ranking mandarins, while the two side paths (Linh Đạo) were for the students and common people. The courtyard contains two ponds that, together with the tree planting, give the courtyard a spacious and fresh appearance.

The Nhập Đạo courtyard is connected to the next courtyard by three gates, or doors, that have names symbolic of advancing wisdom. At the centre is Đại Trung Môn (Great Middle Gate) while to the left is Thành Đức (Accomplished Virtue) and to the right Đạt Tài (Attained Talent).


GREAT PORTICO OF VAN MIEU

The Great Portico was built in the early 20th century. The gate was built as a two-tier brick structure with eight roofs and three doors. The central door is large in both height and width, and bears three Chinese characters- “Văn Miếu Môn” (Great Portico of Van Mieu) on the top tier. The two ironwooden doors open up to the inside of the temple and are adorned with two dragons flanking the moon on the top.

(The Great Portico of The Văn Miếu-Quốc Tử Giám)

In front of Van Mieu’s Great Portico are two stone dragons in the architectural style of the Le dynasty (15th century) and behind it are another two stone dragons from the Nguyen dynasty (19th century). On the two sides of the Great Portico are parallel sentences in Chinese. There are two Friezes to the right and left of the central arch. One shows an ascending dragon symbolizing endeavour and success in studying and another shows a tiger descending from a mountain symbolizing the strength and power of intellect bringing help to humanity.

( A stone dragon in the architectural style of the Le dynasty (15th century))


“HẠ MÔ STELE AT THE TEMPLE OF LITERATURE
In front of the entrance to the Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu - Quốc Tử Giám), there are two steles located on both sides, engraved with the word “Hạ mã”, which means getting off a horse.
The stele was erected in 1771 by Nguyễn Hoản - the vice principal of Quốc Tử Giám. The stele, which is erected on a pedestal in a small shelter, is very harmonious with its surroundings.
In the past, along with The Four Brick Pillars placed in front of the Temple of Literature, the “Hạ mã” stele is considered an icon horizontally bounding the site. The "Hạ mã" steles were erected to remind passersby, from servants to emperors, to get off the horse and walk at least the distance between the two steles to pay homage to the Saints.

(The “Hạ mã” stele)
The “Hạ mã” stele is not a place of worship and should be preserved like other artefacts of the Temple of Literature.


One of the distinctive features of traditional Vietnamese environmental planning is the way in which a balance is achieved between fluid water and solid buildings. There has always been a lake in front of the Văn Miếu. The Văn Lake (Literature Lake) in former times was not separated from the Văn Miếu by a busy road, as it is today. In the past the Văn Lake was spacious with Kim Châu islet at the centre. Under the Nguyễn dynasty, a communal hall (Văn Hồ Đình) covered with tiled roofs was built on the islet for literary activities. Confucian scholars used to discuss literature and recite poems in this hall.

(Văn Lake as seen from above)

(Spring Calligraphy Festival organized at Văn Lake)

(Learning from outdoor activities organized at Văn Lake)
The Văn Lake and its surrounds were restored by the Nguyễn dynasty in 1883. Later, the lake came under the management of Hanoi’s municipal council. In 1940, the lake was returned to the Văn Miếu. Later, it became overgrown with shrubs and bushes and encroached upon by shops and houses. By 1990 the lake was almost totally hidden from view by recent buildings and a plant nursery.
Because of the Văn Lake’s importance, the Hanoi People’s Committee funded its restoration in 1998. It is now open again to the general public and complements the four pillars and grand entrance to the Văn Miếu. Many important cultural activities take place here, such as a poetry festival and a calligraphy festival in spring.


Thái Học Courtyard

Thai Hoc courtyard was constructed in 2000 on the former ground of Quoc Tu Giam to celebrate 990th anniversary of the capital Thang Long – Hanoi and to honor the national traditions of culture and education.

The designs of the Thái Học courtyard were based on the traditional architecture in harmony with the surrounding sights of the Temple of Literature.

With an area of 1530m2 out of a total 6150m2, the Thai Hoc courtyard consists of the building in front, building behind, left and right buildings, bell house, drum house and other buildings. The main materials for their construction were ironwood, shoe-like tiles and bricks.

The building in front is used for organizing ceremonies in memory of cultural scholars, scientific and cultural activities.

The building behind consists of two storeys. The ground floor is used for displaying the statue of Director of Quoc Tu Giam Chu Van An  to honor him and the exhibits on the history of Van Mieu- Quoc Tu Giam, and on Confucian education in Vietnam. The upper floor is dedicated to three Kings who contributed most to the foundation of Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam and to the development of Confucian education in Vietnam.

  • King Ly Thanh Tong (1023- 1072) who founded the temple in 1070.
  • King Ly Nhan Tong (1066- 1127) who founded the first National University in 1076.
  • King Le Thanh Tong (1442- 1497) who ordered the erection of stone stelae of doctor laureates in 1484.

 

 


Đai Thanh Sanctuary

Đại Thành Sanctuary consists of nine compartments, the three sides have no windows or doors while the front side of the seven central compartments have wooden doors. The two outermost compartments have no doors but windows with wooden bars in the architectural style of the Later Lê Dynasty. All of the wooden columns in this building were red-lacquered, on the rooftop are two dragons flanking a moon, and the roof is tiled with shoe-shaped tiles.

 

 

Dai Thanh Sanctuary runs parallel with the Great House of Ceremony, and is connected by a small house. This place is used for the worshipping of Confucius, Four most brilliant students of Confucius and Ten Chinese Philosophers.

The central compartment is for worshiping Confucius; his face turns to the South, according to the concept of "Thanhs nhân Nam diện nhi trị”, it means a saint turns his face to the South to rule the nation. Behind the altar is a wooden tablet engraved with the name of Confucius.  Confucius, known as Zhong Ni, was born in Zou, Qufu, State of Lu (now in Shandong Province, China) in 551 BC and passed away in 479 BC. He was worshiped in Vietnam since the 11th  century as a great thinker and educator.

On both sides of the statue of Confucius are four statues, the statues represent four most brilliant students of Confucius: Yanhui, Zengzi, Zisi, and Mengzi. They made a great contribution to the development of Confucianism.


Đai Thanh gate, Đai Bai yard, Left and Right Houses

Đại Thành Gate is in the architectural style of the Later Le dynasty (15th -17th  centuries). It is a wooden structure with three compartments and a shoe-shaped tiled roof. The doors are decorated with  motifs of “dragons in clouds”, depicting the aspiration for a prosperous system of Confucian education. On the platform of Đại Thành Gate are six skillfully-made lions (two stone lions and four wooden) which are used as doorhinges.        

To the sides of Đại Thành Gate are two small side gates, Kim Thanh (Golden Sound) and Ngọc Chấn (Jade Vibration), leading to the two building: Left house and Right house.

Behind Đại Thành gate is Đại Bái yard. To the sides of  the yard are two houses: Left and Right House, each has nine compartments. Previously, the two houses used to be places for the worshipping of 72 Chinese sages (72 students of Confucius). However, both of them were destroyed in 1946, the two new houses were constructed on the same ground in 1954.

 

 


Garden of the Doctors’ Stelae and Thiên Quang Well.

The garden of the Doctors’ Stelae is a significant section of the relic. In the center of the garden is a square well named Thiên Quang Tỉnh or Well of Heavenly Brilliance. The ancient well is surrounded by a brick banister, and has two brick stairs in the East and West. The well is full of pure water all year round.

 

 

To the sides of the well, to the East and West, are  lines of Doctors’ stelae.  The first stelae erected in 1484 under King Le Thanh Tong’s Dynasty aimed not only to honor talented people, but also to encourage comtemporary and future generations in education. The stelae were erected over a period of 300 years (1484-1780).

Only 82 stelae remain today, the stelae are engraved with the names and homelands of 1.304 doctors of 82 royal examinations held between 1442 and 1779.

In 1994, eight lines of shelter houses were constructed to protect these stelae. These houses have wooden frames and shoe-shaped tiled roofs. Because they are not very large, so they are in harmony with Khuê Văn Pavilion and Thiên Quang Well, creating a complete architectural scenery in this area.


Thanh Đat Courtyard and Khue Van Pavilion.

The second courtyard of Van Mieu is Thành Đạt courtyard. There are also three paths in this area, including a central path called Hoàng Đạo running from  Đại Trung Gate to Khuê Văn pavilion. The two smaller paths run on each side.  One leads to Bí Văn gate and the other to Súc Văn gate. Bí Văn means coherent writing style, Súc Văn means concise content

 

In 1805, the Governor of Bắc Thành (Nothern Citadel), Mr. Nguyễn Văn Thành ordered the construction of Khuê Văn Các, meaning “Khuê Constellation Pavilion”, at Văn Miếu in Hà Nội. The pavilion is a symmetrical, simple, and elegant building. Its platform is square and its windows round. The pavilion has double roofs of pipe-shaped tiles. On the pavilion hangs a red board with three golden chinese characters-“Khuê Văn Các”- meaning Khuê Văn Pavilion. According to oriental astronomy, Khuê is the brightest constellation of 28 constellations. Khuê constellation includes 16 small stars that incidentally form the Chinese character Văn (). That explains why ancient people believed Khuê constellation could moniter the Văn-literature. On the Khuê Văn Các hang many parallel sentences that represent the vitality of knowledge and intelligence.

“Khuê constellation in the sky, as bright as the humanity in life.

Bích river in spring time, as lively as learning for ever”

In 2012, Khuê Văn Các was chosen as the symbol of the Hanoi Capital.

 


The Front, The Four Pillars and “Hạ Mã” Steles.           

 

 

 

The Front of Van Mieu is spacious, making the vestige look holy and larger from a distance. This section has four large pillars with two “ Hạ Mã”(Horse Dismounting) steles on both sides.

The Four Pillars were built from brick, and on the top of the the higher middle pillars are two lions. The two other pillars are topped with four phoenixes in a charming position with out-stretched wings and tails huddled together.

 

The “Hạ Mã” steles were built before the entrance of Van Mieu to remind all people, including the emperor and high-ranking mandarins, to dismount from horses in respect before entering.


Van Lake and Giam Garden

 

One of  the traditional characteristics of Vietnamese architectural planning is that the environment be in harmony with the trees, water, and other buildings nearby. Temples, communal houses, and pagodas are normally one -story high, shaded by trees, and have a lake at the front of the main entrance gate. Quoc Tu Giam also bears those typical features.

Van Lake covers an area of 12.297 square meters, and in its center is Kim Chau Islet on which was a communal house which used to be a place for Confucian scholars in the Thang Long citadel to meet and recite poems. Nowadays, this house no longer exists. The Van Lake has been renovated, so today the lake looks much cleaner and appealing. In a forthcoming plan, the communal house will be reconstructed connecting the activities in this area with the ones in the Interior area.

Along with Van Lake, to the west of Van Mieu is Giam Garden whose many  structures and decorations  were added later: walls, trees, grass, flowers, walking lanes, and the Octagonal Pavilion in which traditional art performances take place.


Van Mieu Architecture

 

Văn Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam, which was founded in the late 11th Century, is situated to the south of the Thang Long  Imperial Citadel. This complex includes Van Mieu and Quoc Tu Giam. Van Mieu was constructed in 1070 under Ly Thanh Tong’s reign. In 1076, by the order of King Ly Nhan Tong, Quoc Tu Giam was founded behind Van Mieu. Through ups and downs in Vietnamese history, today the relic that is nearly 1.000 years old has had its architectual features of the Le and Nguyen Dynasty preserved in a good condition.

The complex covers an area of 54.331 square meters, including the Interior and Exterior Area. The Exterior Area includes Van lake and Giam garden. The Interior Area is divided into five sections, each of which is surrounded by a brick wall. Each of the sections has three gates, a bigger one in the center and two smaller ones to the sides. The five sections include Nhập Đạo courtyard, Thành Đạt courtyard (Great Success), Garden of Doctor Steles, Đại Thành courtyard and Thái Học courtyard

Văn Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam, which was founded in the late 11th Century, is situated to the south of the Thang Long  Imperial Citadel. This complex includes Van Mieu and Quoc Tu Giam. Van Mieu was constructed in 1070 under Ly Thanh Tong’s reign. In 1076, by the order of King Ly Nhan Tong, Quoc Tu Giam was founded behind Van Mieu. Through ups and downs in Vietnamese history, today the relic that is nearly 1.000 years old has had its architectual features of the Le and Nguyen Dynasty preserved in a good condition.

The complex covers an area of 54.331 square meters, including the Interior and Exterior Area. The Exterior Area includes Van lake and Giam garden. The Interior Area is divided into five sections, each of which is surrounded by a brick wall. Each of the sections has three gates, a bigger one in the center and two smaller ones to the sides. The five sections include Nhập Đạo courtyard, Thành Đạt courtyard (Great Success), Garden of Doctor Steles, Đại Thành courtyard and Thái Học courtyard.



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