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Nine Holy Cannons Introduction
Among thousands of bronze cannons under the Nguyen, the Nine holy cannons cast under the Gia Long emperor are the largest and most decorated.
As you know, Nguyen Dynasty was the last monarchy in Vietnam lasting 143 years from 1802 to 1945. The Nguyen dynasty has left us valuable legacies that show the power of the emperors as well as determine the position in Asia. The Nine holly cannons Hue is such obvious evidence to prove it.
After overthrowing the Tay Son dynasty and coming to the throne, the Gia Long Emperor ordered the military to confiscate all of the bronze weapons to be melted down and molded into nine holy cannons to “make memories of the future.”
The National History of the Nguyen Dynasty said that this set of cannons was cast in Hue within 12 months, from February 1803 to January 1804. Workers in the Ministry of Public Works and soldiers in the Infantry carried out this work.
The name of each cannon is set in advance, named after the four seasons of the year, namely Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. And the five ones named after the natural elements to create the Universe are Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth engraved into words on each cannon’s tail.
In 1816, these nine cannons were also given a new name by the Gia Long Emperor, “Than Oai Vo Dich Than Cong Cuu Vi”. means “The nine undefeated holy cannons”
Under the Gia Long, the Nine Holy Cannons were divided into two groups placed on both sides of the Ngo Mon Gate (Noon Gate) of the Imperial Citadel. The “Four Seasons” group on the left, and the “Five Elements” group on the right.
In 1896, the right group was moved to the same row as the left group. In 1916, the Nine Holy Cannons was moved to its current position, behind the two gates of The Nhon and Quang Duc of the Hue Citadel.
The nine cannons are all very large in size and weight. The length of each gun is 5.10m, the barrel diameter is 0.23m, the barrel is 0.105m thick, the rear measures around 2.6m, and the average weight of each is 11,000kg.
Each cannon is mounted on an elaborately carved wooden stand. The two sides of the base have 4 wooden wheels with iron edges for easy movement. The body of the cannon is engraved with letters and decorative patterns.
In addition to the cannon’s name, dating from the 3rd Gia Long year (1804), the body of the gun is also engraved with the weight of each in pounds (the heaviest cannon is 18,400 kg, the lightest is 17,200 kg).
There is also a short description stating the reason for casting the cannon, how to make cannonballs to shoot. In addition, there are decorative patterns with flowers and leaves. And there are two large handles of two very sophisticated unicorns.
The cannons are also engraved with the names of the people who control the casting of these cannons, which are Marshal Nguyen Van Khiem, captain Hoang Van Can, captain Cai Van Hieu and Minister of Public Affairs Phan Tien Can.
The Nine Holy Cannons functions
The Nine Holy Cannons not only has historical significance but also has high artistic value. It proves that bronze casting techniques, decorative arts, and carvings of Vietnam were skillful and sophisticated.
These are the largest cannons, one of the valuable bronze works of Vietnam. These nine Holy cannons have never been fired. The Nguyen Dynasty just used them to show the monarchy’s power, making the face of the Citadel more majestic.
How to visit them?
As we mentioned above, the nine holy cannons Hue is now standing in the Hue Imperial Citadel. So the best way to maximize your time, and visit them is to book the Hue City Tour, Hue City Group Tour, or Hue City Tour By Private Car via Culture Pham Travel.