Head of UNESCO’s representative office in Vietnam on December 12 awarded the certificate of Documentary Heritage to the State Records and Archives Department for woodblocks from the Nguyen Dynasty two centuries ago.
At the ceremony, Katherine Muller Marin recognised that 34,555 plates of woodblocks of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1863) helped record official literature and history as well as classic and historical books.
She added that apart from their historic value, the woodblocks also have artistic and technical merit as they mark the development of woodblock carving and the printing profession in Vietnam.
Experts said woodblocks were considered national assets under the feudal regimes as only authorities and historians were allowed to use such materials.
The importance and high value of these woodblocks led feudal dynasties and State regimes in history of Vietnam to pay considerable attention to preserving the records, stated UNESCO in its website on the Memory of the World Register Programme.
Woodblocks of the Nguyen Dynasty were carved with up-side-down ancient Vietnamese and Chinese scripts for book printings under the feudal regime. They made up a valuable collection consisting of 152 books documenting different topics ranging from history to socio-politics, military arts, justice, culture, education and poetry. Books were only printed under the king’s mandate. <
The woodblocks of the Nguyen Dynasty were included into the list of World Documentary Heritage at a three day meeting that ended on July 31, 2009 by the International Consultative Group on the Memory of the World Register Programme.
The programme launched by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) aims at preserving and disseminating valuable archive holdings and library collection worldwide.