Valuable woodblocks used for rudimentary printing in the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945) will be introduced to the public for the first time during the Da Lat Culture Tourism Week 2013 from December 27-31.

The woodblocks represent an important part of the country’s feudal history. Under the Nguyen dynasty, they were used to print literary and historical documents. These original records of the time become priceless to the nation.

The collection boasts many rare woodblocks that record the history of the unification of great Vietnam, or Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi, and the royal annals of great Vietnam, or Dai Nam Thuc Luc.

Nguyen Xuan Hung, Vice Director of the National Archive Centre No.4, said the valuable treasure also contains contents affirming Vietnam’s sacred sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes.

Apart from their historical value, the woodblocks are important in terms of their art and skill as they mark the development of the woodblock carving and printing profession in Vietnam.

Most of the wood blocks were made out of a plate of either thi tree wood which is yellow and soft, or nha dong tree, which is smooth and of an ivory colour. These kinds of wood are especially good in preserving the shape of the carvings.

They carry Chinese or ancient Vietnamese letters carved in reverse so when printed, they will appear correctly.

In 1960, more than 50,000 of the Nguyen dynasty blocks had been stored in the royal city of Hue before they were brought to the Central Highlands city of Da Lat.

In 2009, UNESCO recognised the Nguyen dynasty’s wood blocks as a Memory of the World.-VNA