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.