Hà Nội wants world documentary heritage status for doctoral laureate steles
16:00 | 09/08/2009
VGP – The Hà Nội Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism is completing the records on doctoral laureate steles, now still standing in the Temple of Literature, which will be submitted to the UNESCO for the recognition as the world documentary heritage.

A seminar to discuss the preparation for doctoral laureate steles, Hà Nội, August 08 – Photo: VGP

The Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu-Quốc Tử Giám), located in the heart of Hà Nội City, has been for long considered a symbol of the civilization and intelligence of Việt Nam.

Founded in the 11th century as a temple dedicated to Confucius and then the country’s first university, Văn Miếu-Quốc Tử Giám was the biggest educational center where thousands of eminent scholars were trained.

Its campus houses a garden of 82 stone steles honoring all doctoral laureates of the royal examinations held between the 15th and 18th centuries.

Eighty two stone steles still stand in the campus of the Temple of Literature in Hà Nội – Photo: VGP

The draft records "Doctoral laureate steles (1442-1779) in the Temple of Literature," registered as a world documentary heritage and added to UNESCO's Memory of the World, have been prepared by Hà Nội for months.

A scientific seminar was opened on Saturday morning at Văn Miếu-Quốc Tử Giám to gather comments on the records.

All scientists agreed that the documents should meet UNESCO’s criteria, focusing on accuracy, originality, uniqueness, humanity and internationality.

According to Professor Phan Huy Lê, Chairman of the Việt Nam History Society, royal doctoral examinations were the highest-level academic competitions in Confucianist countries like China, Korea, Japan, and Việt Nam. However, only in Việt Nam, stone steles were erected to honor talents and encourage people to study.

As scheduled, the records will be sent to UNESCO before September. The results will be announced in March 2010.

The values of 82 stone steles in the Temple of Literature are:

First, they are accurate historical documentation of royal examinations between 1442 and 1779. Their inscriptions provide many valuable historical details of Việt Nam’s traditional education for 300 years.

Second, each inscription highlights feudal dynasties’ viewpoints and philosophy of national construction and protection, cultural preservation, education development, nurturing and using talented people.

Third, the steles provide many details of the biographies of thousands of Vietnamese celebrities.

Fourth, the Chinese characters, carved on the steles, are evidences for the development of the Chinese script in Việt Nam.

Fifth, each stele is a work of art bearing different styles.

By Xuân Hồng

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