A copy of the Tran dynasty at Tam Chuc Pagoda
tranthuy02 26-01-2021, 15:40

HA NAM – Vac Pho Minh, one of the four great An Nam gases in the Ly and Tran dynasties, was restored with 22 tons of copper, placed in front of the great temple of Tam Chuc pagoda.

The cauldron at Tam Chuc Pagoda is different from the original version. The four sides of the cauldron are elaborately decorated with images of famous spiritual works in Vietnam: Trang An tourist complexes, Bai Dinh and Tam Chuc pagodas, Vu Liem palace of Tran dynasty, Song Tu Tay pagoda. on the Spratly Islands.

In front of the cauldron is a famous sculpture of Zen master Nguyen Minh Khong (Ly Quoc Su brand). He was born in 1066 in Diem Giang village (now belonging to Gia Thang commune, Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh province) and died in 1141.

When he was born, he was the first ancestor to build Bai Dinh pagoda and is a famous physician. He was granted the title of national monk of the Ly Dynasty when he cured ill patients called “transforming the tiger” for King Ly Than Tong. People worship him as the ancestor of bronze casting, contributing to the creation of the four famous qigongs of Vietnam.

A copy of the Tran dynasty at Tam Chuc Pagoda
The black cauldron in front of the representative of Tam Chuc Pagoda recreates Pho Minh cauldron, one of the four great Annamite gases. Cauldron is crafted from 22 tons of copper, with a diameter of 4 m, equivalent to the height, size and weight of the original. Photo: Trung Nghia

Vac Pho Minh, cast in February of Nham Tuat year (1262), is one of the four works of art under the Ly and Tran dynasties together with Bao Thien tower, Quy Dien bell, Di Lac statue at Quynh Lam pagoda. Legend has it that Pho Minh cauldron is cast in bronze, weighs about 20 tons with many sophisticated carvings like dragons, flying birds, and rivers. 

On the citadel there are hundreds of egg-shaped round holes, in each hole is placed a golden dragon statue, representing the dragon of the fairy, accumulating aura of Bach Viet lineage. The cauldron carved the names of kings from Kinh Duong Vuong to King Ly Thanh Tong clearly shows the stability.

Together with Quy Dien bell, in October of the year of Binh Ngo (1426), the Ming general, Vuong Thong, destroyed Pho Minh cauldron to prepare fire when besieged in Dong Quan (Hanoi). Before that, the Ming forces moved the cauldron from Thien Truong (Nam Dinh) to Dong Quan. Nowadays, at Pho Minh pagoda (belonging to Tuc Mac village, Loc Vuong commune, Nam Dinh city), only remains of a cauldron’s pedestal in the past.

Close-up of decorative details floating on the cauldron. Photo: Trung Nghia

Vaccine is a tool associated with daily life of the ancient Vietnamese. In fact, the cauldron is a tool used to heat oil. In legend, the cauldron of boiling oil is one of the punishments to punish people in hell.

Restoring Pho Minh cauldron, Tam Chuc pagoda, hoping for good weather, peace of the nation. Visitors from all directions visit the pagoda to pray for peace, as well as admire the restored version of one of the four great national qi.

Visitors from all directions come to Tam Chuc Pagoda to admire the restored Pho Minh cauldron. Photo: Trung Nghia