Specific Items of Consult

Difference between den, mieu, nghe, dien, phu, quan, am.

Update: 29/03/2015
In general, almost the remaining vestiges are the place to worship spirit.

Difference between den, mieu, nghe, dien, phu, quan, am.


It means all concern with religion, faith and depending on the worshiped object will lead to difference name.


Den is a temple to worship saint or some historical figures that were deified. There are many forms of Den. The large form of both size and meaning can be mentioned as Den Hung, Den Giong, Den of king Dinh, king Le, king Ly Bat De, Den Kiep Bac… Some of Den to worship the common people as Den Doc Cuoc, sometimes Den connects closely to worship Gods or the holy local figure.


Ảnh minh họa: Đền Kiếp Bạc


“Mieu” is small Den as Mieu Tho Dia, Mieu Co, Mieu Cau… In general Mieu doesn’t play important role in worship God however we can see it in the big architecture in some cases as Van Mieu, Vo Mieu. (Mieu was introduced in Vietnam in the 11th century).


Ảnh minh họa Miếu Bà Chúa Xứ Núi Sam

Diety temple

“Nghe” is another form of Den and Mieu, worship god(s). This architecture has close ties with any of central vestiges. Nghe sometimes worships god in small village which is split from the main village as Nghe Hai Trieu (Cam Giang – Hai Duong), also can be a small Den worship one of god in commune to sharing spiritual activities if the main Den is unable to respond the need of daily worship, such as Nghe in Truong Yen is one of the auxiliary architecture of Den which worship the kings of Dinh dynasty. (Nowadays, the oldest Nghe has discovered from the 17th century.)


Ảnh minh họa: Nghè ở Trường Yên là một kiến trúc phụ của đền vua Đinh

God or diety hall

Dien is another form of Den (temple), the worshipped place of god in popular Vietnamese faith. Dien is famous for worship goddess of some famous gods (Thanh Tran). Dien can belong to community or private. On the worshipped table including throne, votive tablet, god statues and worshipping objects such as thurible, candle, estrade, flower pot, votive paper, ect. It is also the office place like Dien Rong, Thai Hoa, Can Chanh (its remaining relics were found earliest in 18th century)


Ảnh minh họa: Äiện Thái Hòa (Hoàng thành Huế)


“Phu” is the place to worship goddess, Phu Giay, Phu Tay Ho… some places (apart from goddess worship) in Thanh Hoa province also called Den is Phu. Phu is a busy worshipped place and considered as a central of not only local range but outside, attracted people everywhere come to worship (just like the place of Buddhist patriarch). The earliest of Phu is shrine to worship goddess in But Thap pagoda was built in the middle of 17th century


Ảnh minh họa:  Phủ Tây Hồ

Taoist stall

Quan is another form of Den related to Taoism. There are different forms depending on different periods. In the 11th and 14th century Taoism in Vietnam put the emphasis on the gods so the temple to deities, e.g. Bich Cau Dao Quan worships Tu Uyen, worship Tu Thuc…
During 16th and 17th century, the decline of Confucianism led to develop of Taoism, changed some Confucians to Taoist and followed the style of China with some ancient important figures of China.


Ảnh minh họa:  Bích Câu đạo quán


“Am” is a small Buddhist temple just likes a room. The root of “Am” comes from China which is described as a small house, roofed by leaves for people who go into mourning for their parents, later changed to dome, leaf rooted for reading. Under the Tang dynasty, “Am” is the practice place of Buddhist nun and placed in private garden. For Vietnamese, “Am” is small temple to worship Buddha (Huong Hai Am is Chua Thay, Tho Am is Chua Dau – Ha Tay…), sometime it is small temple to worship the village god. In the 15thcentury becomes the quiet place for reading of scholar.

Ảnh minh họa: Hương Hải Am (Chùa Thầy)

Trích trong: Hỏi và đáp về cÆ¡ sở văn hóa Việt Nam

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