Tomb of Khai Dinh (Ung tomb) is the mausoleum of Khai Dinh king (1885-1925) who is known as the 12th king of the Nguyen dynasty situated on a mountainside Chau Nhu, outside Hue Citadel.
The construction of the tomb was started on 4th September, 1920 under by direction of Le Van Ba commander. This tomb gathered many skilled workers and famous artists for building and was completed in 1931.
In comparison with its predecessor tombs of kings, Khai Dinh Tomb is smaller but more meticulous and time consuming. It takes an area of 117 * 48.5 (square meters). Moreover, it is considered a unique and strange architecture as mixing a number of architectural styles. Khai Dinh Tomb is a blend of Western and Eastern architecture and also reflects the haughtily manner of this king: the cylinder port pyramid architectural influences from India, the pillars affected by Buddhism, fences look like crucifix…
Overall, this is a rectangular block sticking up 127 stairs to show his desire for autonomy. Thien Dinh Palace is the main structure of the mausoleum in the highest position which was built elaborately and sophisticatedly. This architecture consists of 5 contiguous sections as following:
• Both side are rooms for guard soldiers
• In the front of tomb, it is Khai Thanh hall which is the main room of Thien Sinh Palace and has the altar and portraits of Khai Dinh
• In the center, it is the burial area with the emperor statue on the top and the below is the grave of Khai Dinh king.
• In the rear, it is the altar of Khai Dinh King.
The most artistic value of the Mausoleum is the interior in Thien Dinh palace. The entire interior between three rooms in the palace are decorated with reliefs made of porcelain and glass. The four season paintings, eight weapons, five blessings, the tea tray, crown … including very modern things like alarm clocks, tennis rackets, kerosene lamps … are well decorated in this place. On the ceiling, there is the Mekong paintings hidden in the clouds while on the walls, there are porcelain glass mosaics. In the background, it is decorated by ceramic tiled flower, creating a sophisticated art space. In particular, the precious canopy with soft curves, elegant make viewers feel soft velvet atmosphere and forget that this is a concrete block weighs 1 ton. Below the canopy, it is precious copper statue of Khai Dinh reflecting the exact size of his which was molded in France in 1920 by two French ducing P. and F. Barbedienne upon the request of Khai Dinh King. The body of the king was taken to under a statue directed by almost 30 meter long contentment, starting from behind Bi Dinh. Rear grave, the sun was setting as indicating death of the king.
The primary responsibility for the creation of artistic masterpieces of Khai Dinh tomb is Phan Van Tanh artisan who is known as an author of three very famous murals “Nine dragons hidden in the clound” decorated on the ceiling of the palace Thien Dinh. Thanks to the ingenuity and meticulousness of the Vietnamese talented artisans, Khai Dinh tomb becomes the skilled symbol as well as the pinnacle of porcelain and glass. It is worth being a structure bringing History – architecture – art value and having completely different style tombs of kings before.