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QR81: “Thềm bậc Điện Kính Thiên” (The steps of the Kính Thiên Palace)

Artist: Lê Đăng Ninh

Medium: Carving on plexiglass, photography
Size: 7m x 1.8m


Kính Thiên Palace is the foremost significant palace within the Thăng Long Imperial Citadel. This was the site for national ceremonies of the highest importance, and also the site where the emperor held discussions of state affairs. Over the course of turbulent history, the palace has sunk into thin air, the only remaining vestiges are the steps leading up to the palace, built during the Lê sơ dynasty. The stone banisters are adorned with delicate and skillful carvings. Two carved majestic dragons in the middle and “Bảo tướng liên hoa” (stylized lotus form), water waves, clouds, etc., decorated on two side-banisters is the quintessence of heaven and earth. The dragon architecture is a cultural feature bearing the imprint of the Lê sơ dynasty emperors. Kính Thiên Palace is also one of the most significant vestiges of the Thăng Long Imperial Citadel in particular and Vietnamese people in general. By using the images of Kính Thiên Palace, the artist shows his appreciation to the nation’s vestiges. The historical upheavals enable the viewers to feel a fervent sentiment before the resilient power of the Viet people. 


Using graphic articulation on light-emitting material, in the form of a negative, the artwork resembles an X-ray film and also the illusion of dreams. Plexiglass is a material used in daily life from making cabinets, tables, chairs to making gifts and souvenirs. Manufactured products from plexiglass materials are increasingly sophisticated and beautiful. The success of plexiglass works thanks to the engraving technology development applied to them. In this artwork, applying engraving into photography, the artist has made a sophisticated graphic masterpiece to create an excellent graphic works. You’re invited to gaze into the regal night of the palace, to feel the splendor of the long-gone prosperous dynasty.

ONA-JICA Project – Phase 2