National Geographic : 1967 Feb
Hole in the wall reveals vis itors to an emperor's tomb on the edge of Hue. Damaged by war, it honors ill-fated Duc Duc, who ruledbut three days in 1883 and spent the rest of his life in jail. His remains re pose in a mound outside. Never fired, holy cannon af ford symbolic protection for palace and kingdom. A uni versity student and playful boys adapt the 17-foot-long pieces to other uses. A century and a half ago, Emperor Gia Long ordered nine of the rit ual weapons cast of copper objects taken from rivals he had defeated in his struggle to unite the country. EKTACHROMESBYWINFIELDPARKS N.G.S. Few of the tombs seemed well cared for. Many looked a mess. "That doesn't matter," said Mr. Hanh. "The location matters, harmony with the natural forces." And he pointed to indications of these forces around us, to natural features he called a centipede, a snake coiled around an egg, a snake listening, a girl holding a flower. I couldn't see them. "It requires much experience," said Trang, "much wisdom." Mr. Hanh explained that different spots were best for different men. He asked my age and said: "Ah, born in the Year of the Buffalo. The monkey is good for you. Or the chicken. The buffalo is in good harmony with the monkey and the chicken." Close to us, said Mr. Hanh, were manifestations of the deep est powers of all: the white tiger-the female principle, negative, threatening; and the blue dragon-the male principle, positive, benign. These forces met in harmonious balance in the Imperial City, exactly where the throne stood, two and a half miles away. That's why the throne had been put there.