At the end of an old street named Phan Chu Trinh, in the ancient city of Hội An, there is a very old banyan tree. This banyan tree held a secret for many many years, until one day, that secret was revealed. The banyan tree had, at the foot of its trunk, a miếu (a tiny brick shrine made of stone).
This shrine held within its protective shelter, a stone tablet roughly around three feet tall, two feet wide, and about 6 inches in width. Its face was engraved with many characters, but the engravings are faded and difficult to read.
At first, the brick shrine looked to have been erected in an open area, but then over the centuries, a banyan tree grew near it. after countless years, the tree grew around the shrine and eventually encapsulated it.
It was so well-hidden that even the elderly living around the area confessed that although they knew of its existence, they had actually never remembered seeing it completely revealed, until around 1998, when the local government sent an arborist to cut back the roots and trunk of the tree to reveal the shrine.
The stone tablet had words on it, but much of it was worn and difficult to make out. Of the few words that could be read, nobody knew what it meant, so I did what any taobabe with a modicum of an artistic bent would do.
I created a clear layer above the tablet and I retraced what I could see with white so it would be a bit clearer. Since I am illiterate in Chữ Nôm, I apologize if my tracing is incorrect in any way. I am not able to determine if my strokes are in the correct order so that the words make sense.
This is the result of my tracing:
Continue reading “Star Chart Stone Shrine of Hội An”