Andrea Bobo Teufel recently became my friend in Hue. Originally a German-born conservation expert, she moved to Hue about 10 years ago working as a Hue conservationist under a partnership with German government.
I call her “O Bobo”. In Vietnamese language, “O” means “Aunty” to address people who are about your mother’s age. Not only O Bobo is an aunty to me but also a great teacher whom I luckily found.
We spent an afternoon following O Bobo learning the work of a conservationist and O Bobo’s love for Hue.
We start at the Ngo Mon gate where O talked about the traditional technique Nguyen Emperors used to build their walled city, including the materials and how they made pigments for the walls.
We secretly went up to Lầu Ngũ Phụng to see the renovation work. That is how all the dragons pattern are done in many palaces in Hue Imperial City.
O Bobo also told me that the gold lacquer is not supposed to be in that color.
The above picture was taken in Ta Vu building. Serving as working office for civil mandarin in the Forbidden City compound, Ta Vu unfortunately was burned down during the Vietnam war.
The dark color was meant to leave there to compare the old work and the conservation work.
Điện Phụng Tiên is the work recently finished by O Bobo and her colleagues. This special temple was built during Minh Mang Emperor period (1820-1841) and served as the worshiping temple for women. Sadly Phung Tien Temple was completely destroyed during the Tet Offensive battle.
Here are some of its NOW pictures:
O Bobo explained that before re-painting on the wall, her co-workers must do some repetitive practice till they are good enough to do the conservation work.
At the end of the afternoon, we was chatting inside Dien Phung Tien with Leo and Sophie while watching the sun setting over the ruins. Life is wonderful to have friends to share these moments with!
Life is wonderful to have O in Hue! Thank you O for teaching me to love Hue more everyday!