Nine Holy Canons

Among thousands of bronze genies canons cast under the reign of Nguyen’s lords and emperors, the Nine Holy Canons, casted in the reign of Gia Long, are the largest and the most beautifully decorated.

After conquering the Tay Son Royal Dynasty and taking the throne, Emperor Gia Long ordered all bronze wares of this dynasty to be collected and melted into nine big canons as “everlasting souvenirs”. The canons are named after the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and the five elements: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth. In 1816, these canons were renamed “the Nine Holy Matchless Generals” by Gia Long.

Each canon is 5.1 m long with the barrel diameter of 0.23m and 0.105m thick.  The heaviest canon weighs 18,400 kg and the lightest is about 17,000kg. All are positioned on elaborately inscribed wooden brackets. Both sides of the canons have four wooden wheels, each encased in iron for their convenient manipulation.

Besides their historical values, the Nine Holy Canons are works of great art. The casting technique, decorative art and carving on the bronze canons and on the nine wooden brackets are very skilled and elaborate.

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