There was a lot of entertainment that it was created by humans in the old days. There were some gentle, elegant activities and there were also some strong entertainments to made pleasure for humans.
What did Lords and Kings do to pleasure themselves?
Some activities wrote in documents such as kite flying, fishing, boat racing, wrestling, book collecting, poetry, classical drama, painting, etc.
If Italia has a Roma – one of the most impressive Arena in the world, Tiger Fighting Arena (Ho Quyen) is a unique Arena in Hue. Maybe, Ho Quyen is an Arena that there is not anywhere to be had because of its value and mean.
Ho Quyen – the battle life and death of Elephants and Tigers, and this combats was one of entertainment activities of Family Royal, Mandarin as well as people under Nguyen Dynasty. Every year only held a fight between Elephants and Tigers, so this combat considered a big feast day of the imperial court and the people.
Before Ho Quyen was built by Minh Mang King, Elephants and Tigers fight was just simply practice how to fighting and spirit of the Elephants. It has gradually become the pleasure of Nguyen Dynasty. Following some documents, the battles between Elephants and Tigers appeared under Nguyen Lords and organized at Da Vien Islet on the Perfume River. One of the awful fights is a fight at the Nguyen Phuc Khoat Lord with a result that forty elephants killed eighteen Tigers, these tigers were the animal sacrifice on the feast day.
But the fight appeared some dangerous, it has not even safety for viewers, Tiger Fighting Arena was built by Minh Mang King. Because of some accidents such as:
Under the reign of King Gia Long, in a battle held in front of the Citadel, a tiger run toward, jumped up and attacked a man who manages elephants and made him fall to the ground then he was killed by the elephant himself.
Another accident, under the reign of Emperor Minh Mang (1829), the battle was held on the northern bank of the Perfume River, when the battle was happening, a tiger was sudden swim forward the king’s boat and attacked him. Fortunately, Minh Mang King overpowered it, so soldiers and mandarins had enough time to kill that tiger and saved the King.
With such dangers, Minh Mang chose the land of Truong Da hamlet, Nguyet Bieu village, located on the west side of the citadel and build a permanent arena in 1830, named Tiger fighting arena (Vietnamese – Ho Quyen). Since then, the battles happened more safety. Arena structures were still remaining until now and this Arena became a unique architecture in Complex of Hue Monuments.
Ho Quyen structure has an annular shape. How to arrange seats and go up the stage are also in a clear hierarchy. East south was King’s seat and it was higher than another one. On the left of the stage was stair systems that it used to go up consist of twenty-four steps for The King and Mandarins. Other step system built similarly on the right of the stage for soldiers and people. Inside the arena was higher than outside, thin average 4.50m. In opposite of the stage has five cages to keep the Tigers and the stadium was a circle grass
Actually, the matches between elephants and tigers were just a way of expressing the Kings’ power of Nguyen Dynasty.
Before the fight, the Tigers broke all the claws and the elephant always won. Because the elephant symbol the power of the Nguyen, the tiger symbol cruelty and rebellion that it against governments.
Elephants and Tigers combat in this Arena from Minh Mang King to Thanh Thai King and it was a final combat under in 1904. This combat was so attractive and dramatic as the combat in 1950 under Nguyen Phuc Khoat Lord, this combat controlled by was Thanh Thai King and it attracted a lot of people at the time.
People often think about the famous fights, unique in the world. But Ho Quyen is difference between those fightings. Ho Quyen did not use slaves to entertain. Nguyen Dynasty wanted to practice their Elephants about fight skill and will while entertaining.
Nowadays, this relic was not intact due to the effects of natural disasters and war, but it still kept the unique structure, solidity wall that it represented creativity in the Nguyen architecture in that time. This is also a pride Vietnamese with Complex Hue Monuments.