Văn Miếu or the Temple of Literature - Forecourts

Double roofed room with balcony on four pillars. Entry to the Temple of Literature is through a series of gates. This gate is called the Khuê Văn Các and takes the form of a small room supported on four pillars. The name implies a room set aside for literary use by women Photographers taking pictures of Khue Van Cuc gate. Visitors emphasising the 'photogenicness' of the Khuê Văn Các gate Văn Miếu, translates as the 'Temple of Literature', a phrase which papers over a wide gap between Vietnamese and western cultures. This Confucian centre of studies was established in Hà Nội in 1070, and was joined by a broader college six years later, the aim was primarily the qualification of students for the state bureaucracy, which, like its Chinese precursor, was particularly concerned with the Confucian classics. Sometimes studies were wider, and in any case the place of such academic activity was far more central to government than it sounds to western ears, sometimes the term 'university' is anachronistically applied to the site. The pavilions of stelae (upright engraved stones) attest to the the success of the work undertaken. Extensions and new courtyards were added, but this did not prevent the overall decline in relevance of the institution to society, and the buildings decayed, a process clearly hastened by the French occupation. From the year 2000 there has been extensive reconstruction and renovation such that the site now forms a splendid tourist attraction. Room of Khue Van Cuc gate. The room which sits on the pillars of the Khuê Văn Các gate Lotus flowers and leaves in pool. Lotuses in pool by entrance gate The Temple of Literature, or Văn Miếu, has a confusing number of names, it is also designated the Imperial Academy, or Quốc Tử Giám. All of these appellations are met on your way to, and once inside the buildings. The site is long and narrow. The visitor enters from the south west side and progresses through five successive courtyards, firstly through three gates, and then through the halls of ceremonies. This page takes you as far as these halls. The next page of Picture Posting concerns the last courtyard and some of the details of the architecture. Looking between the pillars    
of the Khuê Văn Các gate, across the    
'well' or small pond, to the Gate of Great Success     Looking through the Khue Van Cuc gate.
Small lake with reflections of trees, beyond small pavilion. The third courtyard is occupied by this large pool called Thiên Quang Tỉnh - Well of Celestial Clarity. On reaching the far side the visitor has arrived at the Gate of Great Success, through which can be seen the House of Ceremonies Sideways view from Khue Van Cuc towards small stela pavilion. Looking out from between the columns of the Khuê Văn Các gate at the
small west pavilion
Lake with balustrade and line of buildings. On either side of the pool of 'Celestial Clarity' - clarity is tinged green here - lie two buildings housing stelae: upright engraved stones. Between the long buildings are two small pavilions sheltering a single stele. Above, the west range Small pavilion, open entrance with vertical set of characters on each side. The small west pavilion with its single stele which can just be seen inside. The dedication on the door posts distinguishes it from the one across the water... Another small pavilion with different characters. ...in which the stele, on its turtle, can be more clearly seen Red pillard pavilion and balustrade. Beyond the pool lies the Gate of Great Success... Small pavilion with red pillars and lanterns. ...this gate, and the large pavilion which can be seen through it, are... Looking between pillars to further building, people in view. ...resplendent in bright vermillion Long single story pavilion with red pillars and decorated roof. ...and that large pavilion is the House of Ceremonies - Đại Bái Đường, complete with its roof Dragons Courtyard with couple dozen people. Photographs showing the courtyard as empty require patience, this is a more typical view Corner of courtyard where two ranges of building meet, bonsai in evidence. The whole complex is surrounded by large trees, and everywhere there are pots with bonsai Bonsai in front of pavilion with red pillars. Bonsai with a few red flowers. Some more examples of bonsai. In the photograph below, under the tree and in proportion, two men play chess, and another man, under the overhang, appears to have a minute jar of alcohol.
In the photograph to the left, the woman seems to have chosen her jacket to match the columns and lanterns
Looking close to and along red pillars of large pavilion with red lanterns and woman in red jacket. Bonsai with miniature figures by base of tree and below rock. Looking through arch at wedding couple and their photographer. The buildings provide an ideal background for the necessary 'Vietnamese Style' wedding photographs; this one already seen on another page Two women one in yellow long dress holding bunc of sunflowers. Such a prestigious background can also provide the opportunity for other celebrations - did she or the friend buy the sunflowers to match her dress? View through arch of pathway and grass. Away from the crowds in the central courtyards, two paths run the length of the complex Corner of two buildings with passage between, upturned eaves conspicuous. And lastly, on this page about the entry courtyards of the Temple of Literature... Looking along pavilion with  wooden pillars and stelae. ...photographs of the pavilions which shelter
the rows of stelae
Row of stelea on turtles in evening light. The stelae are carried on the backs of turtles, that most propitious of Vietnamese animals. They were erected... Turtle head higher than neighbours in the row. ...in the three hundred years from the late 1400s. Looking along the row the variation over that time can be seen. The inscriptions on the stones give the names and birthplaces of those succeeding in the examinations Close up of turtle head, mainly eye and mouth. Discreetly and appropriately enigmatic

Trailers... Long single story building with tiled roof. The next Picture Posting page takes over from this one - entering the area of the inner courtyard. Two boats on calm sea, mountains beyond. The next page of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Painted Ship'.
Or go to the contents Go to the contents of the Mosaic Section. of the Mosaic Section.
Saturday 11th March 2023 Murphy on duty ...guide to this site

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