Sunday, November 29 2020


Thăng Long Royal Citadel explored through woodblocks

Update: November, 28/2018 - 09:00
Ancient text: A printing woodblock used for the Royal Proclamation issued by King Lý Thái Tổ in 1010.
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — King Gia Long from Phú Xuân (now Huế) royal city found that Thăng Long Citadel was too big, so he issued an order to build a new, smaller one in 1805. In the royal document, the King ordered mandarins to design a new one according to the French ‘Vauban’ style, as it is now. He indicated clearly that any mandarin who engaged in speculation with public property would be punished

The document is one of the fascinating items displayed at a new exhibition entitled ‘The Imperial Citadel through Woodblocks of Nguyễn Dynasty – World Documentary Heritage’.

The exhibition is on-going at the Thăng Long Citadel as part of activities to mark Vietnamese Heritage Day (November 23).

The exhibition encompasses a collection of images, copies of royal documents, maps, drawings and woodblocks relating to the architecture, construction and restoration of the Thăng Long imperial citadel.

As a World Heritage Site, the Thăng Long Royal Citadel includes important values of architecture, art, history, and urban planning. As the centre of the nation for more than 1,000 years, the site is a crucial part of history.

Printing woodblocks are precious items used in Việt Nam and around the world during feudal times. The wood plates were carved with Han Chinese scripts and Vietnamese Nôm ideographic scripts to print books and documents.

The content of the woodblocks reflects the establishment and development of the country through history, literature, militarisation and legislation.

This is the first exhibition combining the Nguyễn Dynasty’s woodblocks, a World Documentary Heritage recognised in 2009 and the Thăng Long Royal Citadel, a World Cultural Heritage recognised in 2010.

The documents give visitors a better understanding of these two heritage, especially the construction and architectural changes of the citadel’s central area from the 7th to the 19th century.

Đặng Thanh Tùng, head of the State Department for Records and Archives, said the exhibition was organised following a memorandum of understanding between the Department and the Thăng Long - Hà Nội Heritage Conservation Centre.

“The original documents relate to the Thăng Long Royal Citadel, reflecting the history of the country under the Lý, Trần, Lê, Mạc and Nguyễn dynasties,” he said.

“The exhibition helps domestic and international visitors learn more about Vietnamese heritage, raising awareness of protecting and preserving the values enshrined in the heritage.”

The exhibition also displays ancient utensils used to make woodblocks and print books. The items are provided by the State Department for Records and Archives.

The exhibition will run until the end of January at Thăng Long Royal Citadel, 9 Hoàng Diệu Street, Hà Nội. — VNS

Nation’s history: A royal document issued by King Gia Long (1762-1820) about renovating Thăng Long Royal Citadel. — VNS Photos Minh Thu

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