Nine enormous bronze urns stand in front of the Hien Lam Cac temple in the Imperial Palace complex in Hue. Cast between 1835 and 1837 and weighing between 1500 and 2600 kilograms each, the urns are considered the pinnacle of Vietnamese bronze casting.
Each urn is a tribute to a previous ruler and has 17 decorative figures inscribed into the side. The largest urn weighs 2755 kg and is dedicated to Gia Long, the founder of the Nguyen dynasty. The figures illustrate various geographic, cultural, and historical aspects of life in nineteenth century Vietnam, including rivers, animals, flowers, and landscapes.
The Hien Lam Cac temple is also dedicated to the Nguyen dynasty rulers. Separate altars are set up for ten of the thirteen Nguyen emperors. The French refused to allow temples to be erected for the later leaders out of fear of creating symbols for nationalistic pride. Altars for these leaders were added in 1954.