Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Vũ Tuân Sán, a veteran researcher of Hà Nội and Han-Nôm studies, died after prolonged illness last Friday in Hà Nội. He was 102.
The researcher received the grand prize in the 2014 Bùi Xuân Phái — For Love of Hà Nội Awards for his contribution to research on Hà Nội. He was born and raised in Đại Từ Village, in present Hoàng Mai District, Hà Nội. He is considered a pioneer for his research on the Vietnamese Nôm language of Thăng Long-Hà Nội.
Being a master of Han Chinese and Vietnamese Nôm ancient script, French and English, he is acknowledged as a path-finder in the research on Thăng Long-Hà Nội. He taught French in the hope of preserving Vietnamese culture during French colonialism.
He was among the first Hanoiologist to participate in a project to clarify certain issues of Hà Nội’s geography and culture. He worked at the Hà Nội Department of Culture and Information, where he made many researches on Han Chinese and Vietnamese Nôm ancient script and Vietnamese folklore culture.
"He eagerly rode his bike to the ancient works around Thăng Long Citadel to make notes and carry out cultural research," said Professor and Doctor Mai Quốc Liên, director of Centre for Vietnamese National Studies. "His researches on old and present Hà Nội are worth reading."
Any enthusiast of Hà Nội’s culture and history knows Sán’s book Hà Nội Xưa Và Nay (Hà Nội Now and Then). The 980-page book, which took decades to write, is divided into five parts – history and geography, relic sites, famous figures, literature, and traditional culture and handicraft.
He is also known for his translations of Han Chinese and Vietnamese Nôm poems, being published under his pen name Tảo Trang.
Poet Bằng Việt, chairman of the jury board of Bùi Xuân Phái awards, said that what researcher Sán had done for Hà Nội showed how much he loved the city.
"During his life time, he has had plenty of time to accumulate and discover interesting and beautiful things about Hà Nội. He has put all his thoughts and love for Hà Nội into his work. He has devoted his entire life to Hà Nội.”
Last year, researcher San donated 500 books of Han Chinese and Vietnamese Nôm literature to the Hán Nôm Research Institute in Hà Nội.
The books include several unique printed versions of history, geography and literature that the researcher had kept for the past 50 years and are written in the Han Chinese and Vietnamese Nôm ancient script. — VNS