Vinh Nghiem Pagoda’s woodblocks

15:10 | 24/03/2014 Entertainment

(VEN) - The special value of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda located in Tri Yen Commune, Yen Dung Commune, Bac Giang Province, comprises of a woodblock warehouse that has been planned for conservation as soon as the pagoda was recognized as a national cultural heritage site.

Woodblocks convey special values

The welcome ceremony in recognition of the national intangible cultural heritage of the Vinh Nghiem Pagoda Festival

Vinh Nghiem Pagoda was built during the Ly Dynasty and was expanded during the Tran Dynasty in the thirteenth century. It worships three Truc Lam Zen founders including Tran Nhan Tong, Phap Loa and Huyen Quang. It was classified as a national historical and cultural heritage site in 1964.

The special value of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda lies in its woodblock warehouse. According to Bac Giang’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Vinh Nghiem the warehouse currently includes 3,050 woodblocks related to Buddhist Sutra and medical therapies. There are eight shelves of woodblocks in the pagoda, which are different in sizes: the Yen Tu Nhat Trinh (Yen Tu logs) dated to the sixteenth century is the oldest and biggest (1.8m x0.3m), while the Dau Chan is smallest (0.25 x0.17m).

According to Director of Bac Giang’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen The Chinh, while most woodblocks in other pagodas and temples are Buddhist scriptures, a large part of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda’s woodblocks relate to medicine, literature, art, fine art, and painting. Vinh Nghiem Pagoda’s woodblocks also have historical values, helping clarify Buddhism in Vietnam, especially the Truc Lam Zen sect and masters.

According to Chairman of Bac Giang’s Buddhist Association Thich Thien Van, who manages Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, the woodblocks provide valuable information about of Buddhist history, Truc Lam Zen sect, customs and the development of wood carving in Vietnam. Several Vietnamese medical therapies are also carved in these blocks including acupuncture.

Vinh Nghiem Pagoda’s woodblocks received the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO)’s Memory of the World title in May 2012. Vinh Nghiem Pagoda Festival was also recognized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as a national intangible cultural heritage on September 9, 2013.

Means of conservation

Shortly after Vinh Nghiem Pagoda’s woodblocks and Vinh Nghiem Pagoda Festival were honored by UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Bac Giang Province has conducted many activities to conserve, explore and promote the value of this precious heritage, such as the organization of seminars to find the most effective conservation means. The majority of researchers agreed that the text on these woodblocks should be translated, revised, and compiled, and introduced to the public.

The welcome ceremony in recognition of the national intangible cultural heritage of the Vinh Nghiem Pagoda Festival was held on March 12, 2014, at Tri Yen Commune, Yen Dung District, Bac Giang Province, and attracted thousands of visitors and Buddhists.

Master Tran Phuong Hoa from University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, Hanoi said “Only after being translated, revised, and compiled, these woodblocks can become valuable. Consultants and specialists able to provide technical support to protect the woodblocks physically will be needed. These woodblocks should also be digitized for convenient use, and translated into several languages for further reference.”

According to Bac Giang’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, this year Bac Giang Province will build a woodblock storage house and coordinate with the Department of National Archives to digitize the entire woodblocks, translate the entire carved contents into Vietnamese, English and Chinese. In addition, the province will promote the public awareness about protecting the Vinh Nghiem Pagoda and woodblocks there./.

By Thanh Tam

Theo ven.vn