Stone lion statue (Photo: baohungyen)
Hung Yen – 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.
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.
Stone staircase (Photo: baohungyen)
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.
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
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
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./.