The statue of Ly Thai Lo can be found on a square by the east shore of Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake, or the Lake of the Restored Sword. The statue is dedicated to the former Vietnamese emperor, Ly Thai To, who founded the Ly Dynasty, which lasted more than two hundred years between 1009 and 1225. Under Ly Thai To, Hanoi saw a sort of eastern renaissance as they went through a period of intense artistic, literary and intellectual growth. The statue and surrounding monuments are very telling of strong Buddhist influences at the time of their building.
In the morning, you can usually find Buddhists here, lighting incense and praying at the base of the statue, as well as children climbing on the base and playing at the Emperor’s feet, while in the evening, in a true display of culture clash, you can see Vietnamese teenagers, infatuated with American culture, hanging out and listening to western rock, rap and punk music.
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