Vietnamese vandals deface centuries-old pagoda bell, a national treasure

By Vo Thanh   January 5, 2017 | 09:01 pm PT
Many visitors to Thien Mu Pagoda believe messages scribbled on the bell here will reach heaven.

Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue is considered one of the most sacred places in Vietnam. The Buddhist temple, overlooking the Perfume River, was built in 1601.


In 1710, the pagoda received this giant bell made of bronze. The bell is 2.5 meters high and weighs nearly 2,000 kilograms. It is considered a remarkable achievement of the 18th century bronze casting.


In 2013, it was officially recognized as a national treasure.


The inside of the bell has been badly defaced by many visitors.


They believe their scribbled messages could be sent to heaven with every bell ring. In this picture, a teenager wished she could earn a place in a prestigious high school.


Another wished for good health.


Some expressed their love.


A tourist is surprised by the acts of vandalism. Defacing cultural relics, unfortunately, is not uncommon in Vietnam.


Huynh Thi Anh Van, head of the local conservation center, said the pagoda should be responsible for protecting the bell. “We will work with the pagoda to remove the scribbles,” said Van.

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