Documents tell a mandarin's story

VietNamNet Bridge – Eight royal decrees regarding 12th century mandarin To Hien Thanh have been discovered at the Thuong Temple in the central province of Ha Tinh's Nghi Xuan District.

Thuong Temple, Ha Tinh, mandarin To Hien Thanh

Rare find: Two of eight royal decrees about Mandarin To Hien Thanh that were found in the central province of Ha Tinh. — Photo

The documents were written in ancient Han characters, decorated with dragon patterns on yellow do (poonah) paper and sealed by kings Thieu Tri (1846), Tu Duc (1850 & 1880), Dong Khanh (1887), Thanh Thai (1890), Duy Tan (1909) and Khai Dinh (1924).

The eight documents are all in good condition and bear the same decorative patterns.

High-ranking mandarin To Hien Thanh, born in 1102 in Ha Mo Village (today's Dan Phuong District in Ha Noi), was also known as To Dai Lieu.

He passed a royal exam in 1138 and served as a royal mandarin under the reigns of King Ly Anh Tong (1133-74) and King Ly Cao Tong (1175-1209). He was knowledgeable in politics, military and culture.

His biggest contributions included reclaiming land in today's northern province of Quang Ninh, and the central provinces of Thanh Hoa and Ha Tinh.

After his death in 1179, temples were built across the country to commemorate him.

In March this year, a royal decree concerning the same mandarin was also found at Am Temple in Ha Tinh Province.

Although the document has been damaged in some parts, the characters and royal seal are still intact.

The decree was sealed by King Dong Khanh in 1887, and ordered local people in Cuong Doan Commune (today's Xuan Lien Commune in Nghi Xuan District) to worship mandarin To Hien Thanh as a local saint.


Thuong Temple, Ha Tinh, mandarin To Hien Thanh