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Tue Thanh temple in Sai Gon

Tue Thanh Assembly Hall in Sai Gon – Ancient architecture

Tue Thanh Assembly Hall in Sai Gon – Ancient architecture

Step into the ancient temple of the Chinese community in Saigon, boasting a remarkable history spanning 250 years. Visitors are invariably captivated by its unique architecture and timeless charm. From grandiose bas-reliefs to delicate ceramic statues, every corner of this historic sanctuary tells a compelling tale.

Wander through the hallowed halls where the whispers of the past echo in the intricate carvings and ancient artifacts. The allure of the temple lies not only in its physical grandeur but also in the palpable sense of history that permeates the air. Marvel at the colossal bas-reliefs, admire the craftsmanship of ceramic sculptures, and soak in the ethereal beauty of the surroundings.

Wonderful ancient architecture

Welcome to Tue Thanh Hoi Quan, also known as Ba Thien Hau Pagoda in Saigon, a splendid masterpiece designed as a wooden frame house with a distinctive yin-yang tile roof, stretching 65 meters in length and 27 meters in width. This architectural gem unfolds its charm through a thoughtfully arranged space, inviting you on a journey from the outer yard to the inner sanctums.

As you step through the main door, you’ll find yourself immersed in a sequence of captivating spaces—the front hall, Thien Tinh hall, central hall, incense house, and the grand main hall. Each section unveils a unique facet of the pagoda’s spiritual and cultural significance, creating an experience that transcends time.

Tue Thanh temple Quotes

The pinnacle of artistic mastery is undoubtedly exemplified in the roof structure of the assembly hall. The awnings, main roof, and other elements showcase an exquisite craftsmanship, intricately carved and adorned on both sides with 16 layers and three distinct levels, comprising four major blocks.

A standout feature is the block depicting the Twin Dragons in precious stones, narrating illustrious tales such as Journey to the West, Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea, Celestial Guardians of Four Directions, and the mythical Chung Quy Map. Despite enduring a century of weathering, these depictions retain an indescribable level of refinement.

Chua Ba Thien Hau has been recognized as a national architectural and artistic monument since January 7, 1993. This designation is a testament to its enduring significance as a cultural treasure, where the meticulous artistry of the roof structure stands as an everlasting symbol of the rich heritage it encapsulates.

Traditional beliefs through the culture of lighting incense and praying

A striking feature of Chua Ba Thien Hau is the presence of hanging incense spirals, characteristic of Chinese temples. Visitors have the opportunity to purchase these hanging incense spirals and inscribe their wishes and aspirations on a piece of paper. They can then hang the incense, containing their written prayers, high above, seeking blessings and divine favor from Thien Hau.

People burn incense to pray at Tue Thanh Assembly Hall in Sai Gon
People burn incense to pray at Tue Thanh Assembly Hall in Sai Gon

What sets this temple apart is the exclusive use of materials imported from China. From precious woods to aloeswood incense, from intricate bas-reliefs to small statues—every element reflects the special significance of Chua Ba Thien Hau in the lives of the Chinese community in Saigon.

Incense sticks at Tue Thanh Assembly Hall in Sai Gon

Some come here to pray for luck, fortune, and prosperity, while others seek peace and happiness in family life. Therefore, the fragrance of incense constantly wafts through the air, creating a mystical ambiance. The subtle scent mingles with the breeze, carrying with it the heartfelt wishes and prayers from the depths of each visitor’s soul.

Special antiques of Tue Thanh Assembly Hall

Chua Ba Thien Hau boasts a remarkable collection of 400 artifacts, including 7 deity statues, 6 stone statues, 9 stone steles, 2 small bells, 4 bronze censers, 1 stone censer, 10 horizontal lacquered boards, 23 parallel sentences, and 41 bas-relief paintings.

Ancestral Altar Table

In addition, the bas-relief paintings on the ancestral altar table showcase the exquisite artistry of ancient craftsmen, reflecting a pinnacle of sophistication.

500-Year and 200-Year Incense Burners

Among the treasures is an incense burner dating back to the reign of Emperor Minh Nguyen Tong (1426 to 1435), with a history spanning over 500 years. Remarkably, it is made of tungsten alloy, resisting oxidation and maintaining its original color to this day. Additionally, there is a large set of incense burners from the 12th year of the Quang Tu era (1886) on display.

Great Bronze Bells

Two great bronze bells from the 60th year of the Qianlong era (1796) and the 10th year of the Dao Guang era (1830) are also preserved, adding to the historical richness of the collection.

Mural Paintings

The palace features 34 mural paintings depicting historical events and legends, such as the Twenty-Four Filial Exemplars, Han Chung Li Dispelling Three Calamities, and Thang Son Tu Hao. Alongside these, there is a significant collection of calligraphic works selected from the famous poems and excerpts of poets like Li Bai, Du Fu, and Wang Bo.

The artifacts within Chua Ba Thien Hau not only represent the historical and cultural legacy of the Chinese community but also serve as a testament to the artistic prowess and spiritual richness embedded in this venerable temple.

Edit Content: Huynh Hieu Travel

Photos: Bobby Wen

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