Intellectuals congregated at a scientific workshop held in the northern province of Bac Giang on August 16 to explore measures needed to revive and develop a collection of woodblocks at the provincial Vinh Nghiem pagoda.

Concrete moves to promote the woodblocks’ distinctive features of integrity, originality and uniqueness that are valuable for research in terms of literature, medicine, aesthetics, language and religion are needed, stressed Vu Duc Nghieu, Vice Rector of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities-Vietnam National University Hanoi.

He recommended building a digital database for the woodblocks so that researchers in and out of the country are able to access the data source.

Participants agreed to establish a group of consultants and a specialised agency to safeguard the woodblocks, as well as promote global links in a joint effort to assist each other in studying and exploiting the woodblocks’ values.

They suggested translating the Buddhist woodblocks into Vietnamese and other languages, then post the contents online and create a range of products from this documentary block to reinvest in their preservation.

On that basis, it is advisable to build a place to save these valuable national assets to make it become a Buddhism tourism destination that is culturally and religiously precious to draw in tourists from home and abroad.

The collection of more than 3,000 Buddhist woodblocks was made in the early 14 th century by monks at the Vinh Nghiem pagoda in Tri Yen commune, Yen Dung district.

It was recognised by UNESCO as part of the World Documentary Heritage of Asia-Pacific in May 2012.

The workshop was held by the University of Social Sciences and Humanities-Vietnam National University Hanoi in conjunction with the Vietnam Buddhism Research Institute’s Hanoi branch and Taiwan’s Huangkuang University.-VNA