Long Thu Pagoda Stele

17/06/2016 21:06

Long Thu Pagoda Stele is located at An Long Pagoda (formerly called Long Thu Pagoda) behind the Museum of Cham Sculpture, Binh Hien Ward, Hai Chau District.

The stele was erected in the fifth year of King Thinh Duc’s reign, in the Le Than Tong Dynasty (1658), and it was inscribed by Mr Le Gia Phuoc (religious name was Phap Giam) who was born in Hai Chau District.  The stele was inscribed with the reasons for building the pagoda, the meaning of the name Long Thu Pagoda, and the names of the people who had made contributions to the pagoda’s construction.

According to the stele’s content, Buddha with the appearance of a dragon’s head usually helps miserable people, so Buddhist followers come here to pray.  Mr Tran Huu Le donated a garden to build a pagoda for worshipping the Buddha.  Other followers donated money for the pagoda’s construction, bell casting, and sculptured statues in 1653.  It is said that there were two large bells and many beautiful statues, but they were all stolen.  The pagoda was destroyed in the Tay Son–Nguyen Anh period, but the stele was buried in the ground for safety .  It was rediscovered and laid next to the gate in 1903.  The pagoda was rebuilt in 1961 adopting the same architectural style as current pagodas in the southern region.

Made of grey sandstone, the stele is 1.25 metres high, 1.20 metres wide, and 0.21 metres thick with a round trapezium top.  It is inscribed on both sides.  On the front there is a Chinese poem  surrounded by floral patterns, with a sun, clouds, flowers, and two lions carved at the top.  The poem has 368 words, 6 appearing horizontally: “Lap Thach Bi Thu Long Tu”.  On the other side of the stele there are more floral patterns.

Although the original pagoda has gone, the stele still exists and acts as proof of the ancient pagoda’s previous existence.  It is the oldest stele in Da Nang and plays an important role in local historical research.

Long Thu Pagoda Stele was recognised as a historical relic by a decree approved by the Indochina government on 16 May 1925, and as a national historical relic by the Ministry of Culture and Communication on 2 December 1992.