Centuries-old poetry-inscribed steles found in central Vietnam

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The bigger stele was discovered lying face down. It is expected to show the full content of "Tay lanh thang hoang," one of the twenty poems by King Thieu Tri describing the beautiful spots of the ancient capital of Hue.

Two stone steles inscribed hundreds of years ago with poetry composed by a Vietnamese king about the beauty of a local hot spring have been found in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

They were discovered near a local hot spring during the construction of a reservoir Ta Trach at the upper reaches of Huong (Perfume) River, Duong Hoa Commune, Huong Thuy Town.

The smaller stele, found broken into many pieces 10 meters from the hot spring, is inscribed with four words in Han script "Tay lanh thang hoang."

It is the name of a poem by King Thieu Tri the third king of Nguyen Dynasty that describes the beauty surrounding a hot spring located in what is now Huong Thuy Town.

The bigger stele, found laying face down with its inscriptions hidden, is expected to show the full content of "Tay lanh thang hoang." 

Phan Thanh Hai, director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Center told Thanh Nien that researchers have not yet been able to work with the steles due to last week's heavy rains.

The items will be sent to the Hue Royal Antiquities Museum for research and then be exhibited.

Hai said the discovery of the steles will help identify the exact position of the hot spring in the poem, which will end up 60 meters below the surface of the Ta Trach Reservoir when construction is completed.

"Tay lanh thang hoang" is one of 20 poems in a King Thieu Tri collection that describes and ranks the 20 most beautiful spots in the former imperial capital of Hue. The poems were recorded in books, stone steles and bronze boards. 

The hot spring site in the poem, recorded in the historical documents as being four meters in perimeter, 30 centimeters deep with a flow of extremely hot water, is ranked 20th among 20 beautiful scenery sights by the king in his collection of poems.

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