Born in 1829 and died in 1883, Tu Duc had reigned for over 35 years since 1848, longest among rulers of the Nguyen Dynasty. His tomb, with some 50 constructions surrounded by a 1,500 m long wall, was built during 1864 – 1867.
Emperor Tu Duc was expert at philosophy, Oriental history and particularly literature (he left 4,000 verses and 600 prose works) yet failed to successfully rule the country. He was crowned king in the historical period of Vietnam facing the Western developing capitalism. Having no son to weary, to seclude himself, he ordered the construction of his tomb as a fairyland with poetical features, making it a lifetime recreation ground and a world for his eternal life after death.
With several palaces and specific man-made landscape, the tomb is a second Imperial City, an ideal and heavenly world.
Architectural features of Tu Duc tomb are imbued with poetry and freedom. Perfect harmony is obtained of monuments and nature improved on landscape gardening, a Vietnamese form of art. And, if unsymmetrical form is also a specific beauty of art, then Tu Duc tomb enjoins it.
The architecture of Tu Duc tomb reflects the poet-Emperor’s romantic nature, evokes pleasant surprise, creates much literary and art inspiration, makes strong impression on sightseers and art inspiration, makes strong impression on sightseers, and arouses in them deep sympathy.
Huỳnh Thị Anh Vân