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The Nine Holy Cannons

Imperial Palace, Hue City, Vietnam

The Nine Holy Cannons has long attracted tourists thanks to the gifted sculpting details and its tremendous historical significance. They are considered as one of the masterpieces of the engraving art on bronze under Nguyen Dynasty having existing so far.

The Nine Holy Cannons is the name of 9 cannons casted under Emperor Gia Long. In dozens of bronze cannons casted under Kings of Nguyen Dynasty, 9 cannons under Emperor Gia Long have retained the largest size and most beautifully decorated. Along with Bronze Cauldron and The Nine Dynastic Urns, The Nine Holy Cannons is regarded as one of the highly valuable bronze artworks at that time having existed up to now. It has long become one of the unique tourist attractions in Hue alluring the great number of both domestic and international tourists.

 

Nine Holy Cannons of Nguyen Dynasty

 

After ascending the throne, Emperor Gia Long ordered to focus Tay Son Dynasty's bronze spoils confiscated in order to melt down and cast into 9 big cannons. The Nine Holy Cannons was casted in Hue within 12 months from February 1803 to January 1804. The name of each cannon was named after 4 seasons around a year, namely Xuan (Spring), Ha (Summer), Thu (Fall), Dong (Winter) and 5 natural elements (Five Elements), namely Kim (Metal), Moc (Wood), Thuy (Water), Hoa (Fire), Tho (Earth). These names are etched into the text at the tail of cannons. Not only does it maintain significance of history, the architectural works is also extremely unique in terms of sculpture and architecture attracting any tourists once participating in Hue travel.

 

Five of Nine Holy Cannons Hue

 

Nine cannons retain their own greatly size and weight. The length of each cannon is 5.10m with 0.23m diameter and the average weight of 11,000kg each. Each cannon is put on the wood shelving meticulously carved. There are 4 wooden wheels rimmed with iron for easily moving. The barrels are engraved and carved with decorative motifs. Apart from the name and year of casting of the cannons, the barrels are engraved their own weights (the heaviest one weighing 18,400 kg and the lightest one weighing 17,200 kg). Symmetrizing with the position carving the weight of cannon is a short essay stating the reasons for casting cannons. Discovering unique features of The Nine Holy Cannons is definitely one of the most things to do in Hue.

 

Decorative motifs on Nine Holy Cannons

 

In addition, there are many decorative motifs displaying theme of flowers or leaves along with two large straps showing off 2 sophisticated unicorns on all cannons. The cannons are also engraved name of those who had controlled to cast the cannons, namely Nguyen Van Khiem, Hoang Van Can, Cai Van Hieu and Phan Tien Can. Under the reign of Emperor Gia Long, The Nine Holy Cannons were divided into two groups placed either side of the front door of Hue Imperial City (Ngo Mon Gate). The "four seasons" group was located on the left, meanwhile the "Five Elements" one was situated on the right. The group on the right then was moved into the same positions as the group on the left in 1896. The Nine Holy Cannons then were placed in its current location, behind The Nhon Entrance and Quang Duc Entrance in Hue Citadel in 1916. The Nine Holy Cannons standing majestically and magnificently has become one of the appealing Hue attractions alluring the great number of tourists.

 

One of Nine Holy Cannons of Nguyen Dynasty

 

Together with its historical significance, The Nine Holy Cannons brings enormous artistic values. It proved that casting techniques, decorative arts and engravings on cannons had been extremely skilled and sophisticated. They are currently the biggest cannons in the country, one of the valuable bronze artworks in Vietnam and one of the cultural heritage sites in Hue. In particular, although dubbed as Holy Cannons, these 9 cannons have not been put into operation but used to decorate the face of Citadel much more majestically. The Nine Holy Cannons is considered both as a Deity and a sacred treasure protecting the Imperial Capital. The journey of exploring Hue tours will be definitely much more memorable when tourists set foot on stunning The Nine Holy Cannons.

 

Nine Holy Cannons of Nguyen Dynasty

 

The Nine Holy Cannons is considered as a highly valuable bronze artwork in Hue Imperial Citadel. They are also regarded as the treasure of Hue Citadel in particular and Vietnam country in general. This is worth the masterpiece of gun casting art and art deco engraving on the bronze. Here, tourists have opportunity to explore wonderful decorative art and invaluable historical lessons. Thanks to its historical significance and sophisticated techniques, The Nine Holy Cannons significantly contribute to bring Hue tourism closer to tourists at home and internationally.

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