Friday, October 21, 2022

Temple of Literature in Hanoi

Hanoi's Temple of Literature was built in 1070, dedicated to Confucius, and served as Vietnam's first national university.  The courtyards, pavilions, and halls of the temple are filled with statues and stelae of doctors and were used to hold offering ceremonies, study sessions, and the comprehensive civil service exams of the Confucian court.

We enter the first courtyard and pass through it to the next, filled with stelae records of Imperial exams, with the names of the 1,304 successful candidates in the 82 mandarin examinations held between 1442 and 1779.  The king relied on Imperial officials (mandarins) who passed the exam to govern the country.  The exams lasted several months and were open to all young men of property, except for criminals, musicians, singers, and those in mourning.

Entering the temple

Next courtyard and stalaes

We continue on through more courtyards, gardens, and ponds.

Continuing through the courtyards

As we get deeper into the property, we reach the temples, which are filled with beautiful works.

Temples and statues

Signs in English and French explain Confucianism as a "theory based on the ethical behavior of a gentleman:  educating the self, organizing the family, governing the state, and ruling all nations."  

We continue through the beautiful grounds of the complex to the fifth courtyard, which was a school for the children of the royal family and now serves as a museum.

Continuing through the courtyards

The fifth (and final) courtyard

This has been an incredible exploration of ancient Vietnam and some of its history and rituals.

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