Scientists discuss inscription preservation in Hue imperial citadel

A scientific seminar was hosted yesterday in the central city of Hue to discuss ways to preserve and promote the value of Han script inscriptions in verses and prose carved on architectural works in Hue imperial citadel.

Han script poetry on the top of Thai Hoa Temple, Hue Royal Palace (Photo: SGGP)

According to scientists at the seminar, Nguyen Dynasty bequeathed a huge number of imperial architectural works including citadels, royal tombs and temples in Hue ancient capital during nearly a century (1802-1945).

Its monument system comprises hundreds of Han poetry and prose works conveying special historical, cultural and artistic messages from a period of Vietnam’s history.

Statistics showed that there are about 3,161 compartments carved with poems and prose works in the imperial citadel.

Delegates at the seminar said the value of monument inscriptions original and irreplaceable. They are a type of Han script documents--a widely used language in the group of nations following Confucianism for thousands of years. Therefore they have high internationality and popularity.

Using poems and prose works to decorate architectural works had nearly become an official rule of Nguyen Dynasty, creating a hallmark in Vietnam’s fine art history.

Dr. Phan Thanh Hai, director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Center, affirmed that Han poetry and prose carving in Hue imperial citadel are original and sole. There are no documentations about changes or adjustments of these inscriptions in the history of building and repairing architectural works since the Nguyen Dynasty until now.

They are invaluable art works and in special need of preservation, he added.

Although the compartments of inscriptions on architectural works have been preserved as well as possible, modern preservation measures such as temperature and humidity regulation are unable to apply.

Delegates proposed the Hue Monuments Conservation Center to soon propose UNESCO to recognize poetry and prose heritages carved on the citadel monuments as World Document Heritage under the organization’s Memory of the World Program, whereby the center can acquire modern preservation technologies to better protect them.

By Van Thang – Translated by Hai Mien

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