Dragons in the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long

After spending a lot of time walking around some temples and ancient architecture. In Vietnam, you may see images or statues of dragons  appearing regularly. It is easy to understand because according to Vietnamese beliefs, dragons are one of the four sacred animals and have meaningful meanings. Dragons in the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long also attract tourists thanks to their outstanding appearances during different dynasties. 

If you want to explore more about them just come to visit Dragon House which is located on the right of The Kính Thiên Place and opposite the Antiquities Exhibited. The first type of dragon that you will see in this House is the dragon under the Lý dynasty. They are influenced by Buddhism, as seen by the use of dragons with lotus, Bodhi leaves, and pagodas. Dragons from the start of the Trần Dynasty resembled and inherited the Lý Dynasty’s aesthetic. They evolved over time to be more diversified, simple, realistic, and daring, partially due to the daring and heroic mood of combat. The dragons of the Trần dynasty were shown in a pleasant winding stance with courageous motions. Their body remained the same as that of the Lý dynasty, but stouter and more stretched, with larger front bends and smaller rear bends, and a snake tail.


The third part of the House exhibits images of dragons under the Lê Sơ dynasty. They possessed a large snout, two horns, two ears, saw-toothed brows, and round eyes. Their mouth expanded wide, revealing a pair of ferocious teeth. They were heavily affected and classed by Chinese depiction art, particularly Confucianism. The dominant species were five-clawed dragons, which were connected with the King’s riches or sovereignty. The last type of dragon belongs to Nguyễn dynasty, the last dynasty in Vietnam feudalism. Dragons’ bodies were shorter throughout this time period, and their faces were more predator-like. They featured in both structures and pagodas. In many works of architecture, dragons were portrayed as carp swimming upstream in an effort to become dragons.

In Vietnamese culture, the dragon was also a representation of the highest power: the monarch. The king and the dragon are inextricably linked. The dragon image was utilized to ornament imperial architectural works from the ancient Thăng Long to the present ancient capital of Hue by the Vietnamese royal dynasties from the Lý to the Nguyễn dynasties. The dragon is said to offer good luck, auspicious omens, and best wishes in life. People gathered to pray for rain, prosperity, and bumper crops. 

To know more about Vietnamese history and culture and the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long, let book a tour with us in HERE 

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