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Andrea Teufel and her passion for Phung Tien Temple

TTH.VN - Andrea Teufel, a German conservator-restorer, has dedicated almost 20 years of her life to restoring the heritage buildings of Hue. Among the many relics she has worked on, Phung Tien Temple is the one that she researched extensively and worked hard to restore its architectural beauty.

Exhibition themed "Exploration of the Phung Tien temple compound"

 Ms. Andrea Teufel instructs students to paint the heritage at Phung Tien Temple

Virtually restoring Phung Tien Temple

Recently, Hue Monuments Conservation Center, in collaboration with the Society for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (GEKE e.V.) – Germany, hosted the exhibition “Exploration of Phung Tien Temple Compound” - an activity within the framework of the project “Conservation, Restoration, Virtual Reconstruction, and Education at Phung Tien Temple complex in the period 2021 – 2026”. The exhibition presents a virtual restoration of the original architecture of Phung Tien Temple. It allows visitors to delve into the architecture and spiritual practices of the Nguyen Dynasty, while exploring the cultural, historical, and artistic values of this period.

Phung Tien Temple was one of the five important temples of the Nguyen Dynasty. In 1947, the building was completely destroyed in a fire, leaving only the main and rear gates, front and back guarding screens, surrounding walls, and the foundation wall of the main temple. Since 2017, a German-Vietnamese project has been carried out to restore Phung Tien Temple complex to preserve the remaining structures and revive its original form and function. The project aims to restore the main entrance structures of the Temple along with its surrounding wall system. Additionally, the five small gates and the rear guarding screen will also be restored. The ruins and foundations of the destroyed buildings will be archaeologically preserved, while the previous layout of the structure and buildings will be virtually reconstructed based on architectural fragments and archival records.

Within the framework of the project, the exhibition “Exploration of Phung Tien Temple Complex” is the passion of Ms. Andrea Teufel, GEKE’s conservator-restorer, and her colleagues. As for Ms. Andrea Teufel, the virtual restoration of Phung Tien Temple is the most optimal solution for the current situation of the Temple. Restoring the entire Temple will take a lot of time and money, while many projects in the Citadel still need to be invested in restoration. Another way to restore this monument is to introduce the architecture, decorative design, and stories associated with this place through virtual restoration so visitors can learn more about Phung Tien Temple.

Ms. Andrea Teufel expressed her thoughts, saying, “When tourists come to visit the Citadel, they often just pass by or stop briefly at Phung Tien Temple. If we can share with them the historical significance of this monument, it will leave a more lasting impression than merely admiring the royal architecture. Moreover, I hope the local people of Hue will gain a deeper understanding of the Citadel's architecture, beauty, history, and royal culture so that they can better preserve the legacy of their forefathers.”

Ms. Andrea Teufel and her team restored the original system of the main gate, front guarding screen, and rockery pond in the Phung Tien Temple area. She then implemented a project for 2021-2026. As part of the project, Ms. Andrea Teufel and her team worked on preserving and restoring the rear guarding screen, small gates, and surrounding wall of the Phung Tien Temple complex. They also provided a combination of theoretical and practical training to local artisans and craftsmen on techniques and methods for preserving and restoring cultural heritage works. Additionally, they conducted heritage education training to raise awareness of heritage conservation among pupils and students through practical courses.

Preserving and spreading awareness about the beauty of our heritage 

Whenever I get the chance to meet Ms. Andrea Teufel, I always see her working diligently at the Phung Tien Temple relics. She wears simple clothes and is focused on researching the decorative motifs, mortar, and original materials of the Temple. During the summer, she spends her time sharing her knowledge about the architectural value of Phung Tien Temple at heritage education sessions for pupils and students.

Through the program “Preservation of the Heritage”, Ms. Andrea Teufel introduces to students of the Faculty of Architecture, University of Sciences, Hue University, the process of preserving and restoring heritage works of Phung Tien Temple, with a focus on the technology of decorating buildings with colored plaster and frescoed surfaces. Students learn techniques for preserving and restoring historical buildings, including making materials, painting walls, and creating samples with different lime plasters. As a result, they can gain knowledge about various techniques for preserving and restoring historical buildings.

Ms. Andrea Teufel puts her heart into guiding and sharing knowledge with her students. Her devotion lies in cultivating a love for heritage among the young generation in Hue. For her, this is important because the future generations will be the ones to preserve and promote the heritage values of their homeland. She possesses a witty and lively way of speaking, coupled with a bright face that ignites passion in young people. The experience sessions are always lively and exciting because of her.

Andrea Teufel has been residing in Hue for almost 20 years and has been actively involved in the restoration of monuments during this time. She said, “I adore the distinctive architecture, colors, and materials of this place that I've never seen elsewhere. It always inspires me to delve deeper and explore more, particularly the ancient materials and construction techniques in order to restore and preserve the monument's original features.” She is committed to preserving the original beauty of monuments by using the same materials as the original architecture. This is why she chose to restore Phung Tien Temple using traditional methods from the Nguyen Dynasty. Her enthusiasm for preservation is evident in her work.

Story and photo: Minh Hien
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