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Nguyễn Dynasty documents on display

Update: November, 23/2016 - 09:00
A stamp of crown prince under King Gia Long’s reign. — VNS Photo Minh Thu
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — King Minh Mạng’s various administrative and royal documents under the Nguyễn Dynasty (1802-1945) are on display at an exhibition that opened yesterday in Hà Nội.

When King Minh Mạng (1791-1841) ascended the throne in 1820, he released a royal proclamation announcing that served as a huge favour for all citizens and mandarins.

Accordingly, students of Quốc Tử Giám (a royal college built in 1803 in the imperial city of Huế) would receive allowances to encourage them in studying.

In addition, “thieves who confessed their guilty before being investigated would receive clemency”, wrote the king.

The exhibition is divided into various parts revealing the human source of managing documents, how the documents were compiled, stored and solved, and how royal stamps were used on the administrative documents.

King Gia Long established the first office in charge of compiling and managing administrative documents in 1802.

“It helps visitors and researchers learn about the documents used under the Nguyễn dynasty, the last feudal dynasty of Việt Nam,” said Hà Văn Huế, director of the National Archives Centre 1. “Through the documents, we can understand how administrative offices work and imagine the social, economic and political situation of the country under reigns of Nguyễn kings.”

“The documents were written in beautiful handwritings and stamped with different seals expressing different types of documents.”

The exhibition also aims to show the value of these documents and the importance of protecting and preserving national heritage.

Administrative documents displayed at the exhibition are parts of the collection received the certificate of the Asian-Pacific Region’s Memory of the World Programme, which are currently stored at the National Archives Centre 1.

In order to protect the original documents, the exhibition displays only photos and replicas of the documents and stamps.

The whole documents, numbering nearly 200,000 pages, include laws, decrees, edicts and instructions for resolving problems in various fields such as politics, military affairs, foreign affairs, economy, society and culture.

The exhibition will run until December 31 at the National Archives Centre 1, 18 Vũ Phạm Hàm Street, Hà Nội. — VNS

Quốc Gia Tín Bảo, a stamp used by King Gia Long (1762–1820). — VNS Photo Minh Thu
A document stamped by Prince Miên Tông to announce that his wife Phan Thị Thục gave birth to the 14th child in 1838, under King Minh Mạng’s reign. — VNS Photo Minh Thu

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