Saturday, October 01, 2005

Dragons Everywhere

Dragon steps
Originally uploaded by yellojkt.
In Hue, and in Vietnam in general, dragons are a very common decoration on the palaces, temples, and tombs. The dragon is one of the four sacred animals of Vietnam. The others being the turtle, the phoenix and either the unicorn or the lion, depending on your source. Dragons are often carved into the ornamentation in ways that make the carving part of the building or structure.

The first picture shows the largest dragon in Vietnam. His body and tail go all the way up this very grand set of steps. This dragon is one on of four or five dragons that are stair railings going up to the tomb of Khai Dinh. This tomb is set on the side of a mountain and the stairs are very steep.

The photo is streaked by rain from the torrential downpour that started while we were at the top of the tomb. The fast flowing rain and worn steps made descending back to the tour van very hazardous.

Dragons on the roof
Originally uploaded by yellojkt.
The second picture is a close up of the roof of the Imperial City. There are a total of nine dragons on the roof of the building. Nine is a sacred number in Vietnam.

Dragons are on nearly all of the buildings in the Forbidden City. If you look at the full 3 megapixel size photo (warning to dial up users: link is 1.5 MB) that was used in the post about the Forbidden City you can see the dragons all along the roof of the entrance pavillion as well.

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