Illuminating Wisdom: A night at the Temple of Literature

June 20, 2024 - 08:44
An intelligent and captivating narrative through light and music about the Vietnamese tradition of filial piety and scholarship

By Trinh Nguyễn

As the sun dipped below the horizon, the Temple of Literature – Imperial Academy in Hà Nội transformed into a beacon of light and history. This 700-year-old heritage site, renowned for its ancient educational significance, became the stage for a captivating Night Show that guided visitors on a sensory journey through Việt Nam's rich educational heritage.

Under the veil of darkness, the temple courtyard dazzled with luminous displays. Guests were captivated by the radiant transitions, each light spectacle revealing another delightful surprise. Jasmine Zepf, a visitor from Germany, couldn't contain her amazement, "It was very impressive. The sounds and the video specials were very nice. Really loved the show and I really like to have a chance to look at it and watch it," she said.

LIGHTING THE WAY: 3D mapping show 'The Quintessence of Learning' during the night tour at the Temple of Literature. VNS Photo Trinh Nguyễn

Activities and diverse experiences such as studying with traditional scholars, folk games, storytelling steles and more will bring visitors closer to the journey of learning to become virtuous and talented individuals, as experienced by scholars when they step into the Temple of Knowledge.

The explosive highlight to conclude this journey is the 3D Mapping Show 'The Quintessence of Learning', which honours the tradition of valuing education, the spirit of respecting teachers and the importance of recognising talent in Vietnamese culture.

The journey began with a path of dancing light, leading to ethereal images that reflected the ancient Vietnamese reverence for learning and teachers. This path belongs to the first spatial layer of the Inner Sanctuary, known as the Entryway to the Way (khu Nhập đạo), signifying the beginning of the educational journey with the motto 'First Learn Etiquette, then Learn Literature'.

The journey of learning and self-improvement for each scholar does not begin with the first strokes of the pen under a teacher's guidance; it truly starts with the upbringing and discipline imparted by parents on manners and lifestyle within the family. The phrase 'The Quintessence of Learning,' illuminated along the main path leading to the Great Middle Gate, embodies the central theme of this experiential programme.

MERGING TRADITIONAL AND MODERN: The Path of Light named 'The Quintessence of Learning'. VNS Photo Hải Anh

"The light show is very interesting, again very cultural and suitable to people with different ages," shared Max, another visitor. "It’s good to see how traditional sounds and pictures merge with modern technologies. I think it was done in a very tasteful and effective way."

Along the path, illuminated symbols depict the crucial role of parents in the growth and development of their children. These are represented through the evocative images of a Mother's Lullaby and the Four Sacred Creatures Teaching the Child. Thanks to the nurturing and guidance of their parents, scholars of the past persevered, patiently overcoming obstacles and successfully 'Crossing the Dragon Gate.' This beautifully illustrates the Vietnamese tradition of valuing education and the resilient spirit of overcoming challenges to achieve greatness.

The highlight of the show was undoubtedly the 3D mapping experience themed 'The Quintessence of Learning'. Radiant lights formed dazzling images representing Việt Nam's studious traditions, accompanied by grand and serene melodies that left a profoundly stirring impression on all beholders.

"The performance was so nice because it told the story with stunning images and beautiful music," said Georgia. "We could all follow along, no matter what languages we spoke."

Every corner of the temple unveiled mesmerising tales in the night sky, with the Doctoral Steles Garden paying homage to 1304 Vietnamese scholars spanning 300 years. Through advanced mapping, the first two stelae vividly chronicled centuries of academic brilliance. Passionate researchers could explore Vietnam's 800-year feudal education history at an enchanting exhibition, enhanced by the latest in AR, VR and XR technologies.

Pulak Rijhwani, visiting from India, appreciated the use of immersive technology: "I believe these technological tools like AR, VR, and XR, extended reality, can play a huge role specifically in explaining history. They make such events more interesting, especially for our generation." His girlfriend, Shivani Chaurasia, agreed, adding: "Instead of reading, if we see a visual of everything, it suddenly gets better. It's better for understanding for everyone as well."

MASTER'S CLASS: A visitor experiences the traditional scholar's classroom during the night tour. VNS Photo Trinh Nguyễn

Additionally, visitors could enjoy thrilling experiences like virtual reality adventures and The Master's Class, which provided an enjoyable and educational experience for participants of all ages. The night tour at the Temple of Literature – Imperial Academy promised an immersion in a world of history and wonder, blending ancient traditions with modern marvels. VNS