Intangible value of the Imperial Archives of the Nguyen Dynasty

(VOVworld)- The Imperial Archives of the Nguyen Dynasty are unique documents with significant historical value. The archives were royal documents of the feudal state. They were guidelines and orders issued in the form of royal proclamations and decrees which were in effect for nearly 150 years during the Nguyen dynasty. They are unique administrative documents that are part of Vietnam’s historical and cultural heritage.

Intangible value of the Imperial Archives of the Nguyen Dynasty - ảnh 1

The Imperial Archives are documents that reflect various aspects of life in the Nguyen dynasty. The archives are important historical source materials. Doctor Vu Thi Minh Huong, Director General of the State Records and Archives Department of Vietnam Archives are divided into three groups. The first group consists of documents that were drafted by official agencies of the Nguyen dynasty. The second group are documents that were issued by the Kings. Diplomatic documents belong to the third group. All these documents were approved and annotated by the Kings: “The Imperial Archives of the Nguyen Dynasty are unique. They are the only documents with the King’s approval and annotation in red ink. Among the documents of the Nguyen Dynasty, only those with the King’s comments and annotation in red ink can be called Imperial documents. On these documents, the King’s comments were expressed in different forms. The royal stroke reflects the King’s disapproval and royal circles indicate the King’s opinions”.

Intangible value of the Imperial Archives of the Nguyen Dynasty - ảnh 2

Documents in the Imperial Archives are originals with specific issue dates and royal seals authentically reflecting administrative activities of local authorities in an Asian feudal society. Nguyen Cong Viet is Acting Director of the Han Nom Research Institute: “The documents were sealed differently. Seals on the documents are important evidence of their authenticity. A document with several recognized traces is considered an original. The Imperial Documents contained not only a seal of an authority or agency but on their way to approval, other seals were added, without which they are considered incomplete documents. The Imperial Archives are valuable because they are administrative documents with recognized authentic seals”.

National Archive Centre No 1 has restored most of the damaged documents. In addition, the Imperial Archives have been digitized and collected in a research database. Ha Van Hue, Director of National Archive Centre No 1, says that since the Imperial Documents were recognized as a UNESCO Documentary Heritage of the Asia Pacific region, the Center has strengthened activities to preserve and promote them: “We are developing a project to promote the value of the imperial documents. We will publish the Imperial Archives of the Nguyen dynasty in different categories. We intend to build an exhibit room to display the documents and call it “Space of the Imperial Archives of the Nguyen dynasty”. We will introduce the documents at various workshops inside and outside Vietnam to further study their details. We will also strengthen the preservation of the documents and restore all damaged ones”.

Intangible value of the Imperial Archives of the Nguyen Dynasty - ảnh 3

The Imperial Archives are a mountain of documents reflecting the society in the Nguyen dynasty. The 800 volumes and 85,000 documents of the archive are stored in canary wood boxes and provide a panorama of the society, science, history, geography, and culture of the Nguyen dynasty.

Lan Anh