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Den Quan Thanh (Đền Quán Thánh)

Vietnamese name of a den, i.e. a temple dedicated to a deified hero, in Hanoi. It is a Taoist temple that dates from the 11th century and is devoted to Bac De Tran Vo (fig.), the Vietnamese god of weather and Emperor of the North, of which the temple houses a 17th century, 3.6 ton heavy bronze cast (fig.), which depicts the deity with one foot on a tortoise and holding a sword with a snake entwined on its blade, i.e. his two symbolic animals. The temple has an inner courtyard with a lush garden, which doubles as a community meeting place, where local people come to relax, socialize, meditate, and some even to practice martial arts (fig.), known in Vietnamese as vo thuat (fig.).