The National Archive Center 4, a division of the State Records and Archives Department of Vietnam, situated at 2 Yet Kieu Street in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, has recently opened a digital exhibition center for woodblocks from the Nguyen Dynasty, recognized as World Documentary Heritage.
On September 22, the digital exhibition center, displaying digitized documents and records related to the Nguyen Dynasty woodblocks, was inaugurated at the National Archive Center 4, thanks to funding provided by the Vingroup Innovation Foundation.
Following the opening ceremony, visitors to the National Archive Center had the unique opportunity to experience hologram technology which allowed them to delve into the stories surrounding the woodblocks of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802–1945).
The hologram technology provides a three-dimensional projection that can be viewed without the need for any special equipment, such as cameras or glasses.
Moreover, attendees can gain further insights into the process of compiling and engraving the woodblocks during the feudal period through the use of 3D mapping technology and sand art.
|This virtual exhibition section highlights a brief history of resistance against foreign invaders during various reigns of the Vietnamese feudal system. Visitors can immerse themselves in this virtual exhibition using VR glasses, created using original documents and records. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre|
Inside the new digital showcase room, visitors can engage with virtual reality technology, VR 360, to access information about the woodblocks and learn about the creation of this invaluable collection of records.
According to Deputy Minister of Interior Nguyen Duy Thang, the launch of the digital exhibition center at National Archive Center 4 represents a pivotal step in promoting, safeguarding, and disseminating the significance of the woodblocks of the Nguyen Dynasty to a broader audience.
This process will be expedited through a combination of traditional and modern methods.
"These activities will transform National Archive Center 4 into a more appealing tourist destination, not only for tourists but also for domestic and international experts, particularly young people visiting Da Lat City," Thang commented.
He believed that the new digital exhibition center in Da Lat can also pave the way for digital transformation in preserving and unlocking the value of records and archives in other cities and provinces throughout Vietnam.
"With the assistance of this virtual exhibition space, we aim to provide those interested in Vietnamese history with easier access to the Nguyen Dynasty woodblocks, recognized as World Documentary Heritage," said Nguyen Xuan Hung, director of the National Archive Center 4.
"Consequently, we can connect researchers, educators, artists, and others who share a common interest in our nation's history, in the hope of promoting the values of Vietnamese history across various sectors."
|Visitors experience the Nguyen Dynasty woodblocks in the digital exhibition center for the first time through hologram technology. Photo: M. V. / Tuoi Tre|
Woodblocks of Nguyen Dynasty -- World Documentary Heritage
The Nguyen Dynasty woodblocks consist of an extraordinarily unique collection of 34,555 wooden plates engraved with Chinese characters.
These blocks cover a wide range of subjects, offering insights into various aspects of Vietnamese society during the feudal period.
Originally, the content on these woodblocks was used for printing books in Vietnam during the 19th-early 20th centuries.
However, as printing techniques advanced globally in the early 20th century, the Nguyen Dynasty woodblocks ceased to be used for book printing.
Instead, they became valuable original documents preserved for reference and comparison with other historical records as needed.
On July 30, 2009, the Nguyen Dynasty woodblocks received recognition as World Documentary Heritage at the meeting of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of UNESCO in Bridgetown, Barbados.
This achievement marked Vietnam's first entry into UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme.
The Nguyen Dynasty woodblocks are exceptionally rare documents, not only in Vietnam but also on the global scale.