文化遺産国際協力コンソーシアム Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage JCIC-Heritage logo JCIC-Heritage

Comprehensive academic research contributing to the conservation of the World Heritage site “Complex of Hue Monuments”

Comprehensive academic research contributing to the conservation of the World Heritage site “Complex of Hue Monuments”

Waseda University

Viet Nam

The Complex of Hue Monuments

1991-2009 Human Resource Development,Conservation and Restoration,Fundamental Research
01/03/2011
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BACKGROUND

Accepting Chinese culture and the uniqueness of Hue

The city of Hue in central Vietnam was the imperial capital of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), the first and the last dynasty which united the whole of Vietnam. It was surrounded by a French Vauban style shell as well as equipped with a Chinese style grid of streets and districts.
It is also known as one of the fiercest battlefields in the Vietnam War, literally resulting in “a broken country with the river and mountain remained” as a famous lyric by Tu Fu. However, the framework of the dynasty’s imperial capital has been preserved, and there are still some ruins from place to place. With reference to those pictures taken in a modern era, it would be possible to restore the total image of the city.
The “Doi Moi” reform generates a new hope, vibrancy, hardiness and freshness throughout the country after a long dark time, and especially I have found that it matches the scenic beauty of Hue.
A special attention should be paid to a slight roof inclination adopted in the Complex of Hue Monuments, which originated in the ancient Chinese architectural style in an arid region, although Vietnam climatically has many typhoons and rains. While it adopted a Chinese architectural style in general, it has a stronger contrast and more rhythmical patterns in its components which cannot be found, for example, in the imperial tombs scattered in deep mountains. It also adopted in the Imperial Court the ranking beam frame techniques, which were viewed only in top-class Chinese buildings, creating a continuous space with a unique horizontal impression.

Ceremony of bygone days at Can Chanh Dien Court

Nguyen Dynasty Hue Imperial Palace and Thin Minh Laurenovated by the joint research center established to work with local organizations

ACTIVITIES

Comprehensive academic joint study ranging from the establishment of maintenance and conservation methods for cultural heritage to regional planning

The Japanese government provided assistance in inscribing the Complex of Hue Monuments on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and Mr. Nakagawa, the representative of this research, visited there in 1991 as a consultant under the UNESCO/Japan Trust Fund to provide technical guidance to the local parties involved with the Complex. The Hue Monuments Conservation Center (HMCC) was already active at this time, but the policy on cultural property conservation and restoration remained unclear. So, a lecture on Japanese, Egyptian, and Asian cultural property conservation and restoration techniques and research was delivered to cultural property officials gathered from across Vietnam. In addition, the Hue remains were inspected, and discussions on wooden buildings and general repair techniques were mad with the HMCC staff.
In 1995, Mr. Phung Phu, the Assistant Director of the HMCC, and Mr. Le Dang Truong, a carpenter, were invited to take part in cultural property conservation and restoration training course funded by the UNESCO/Japan Trust Fund for the preservation of the World Cultural Heritage. Then, a full-scale investigation of the Imperial Palace City of Hue and a restoration study on the Can Chanh Dien Court, which is the main complex of Tu Cam Thanh (Vietnamese Forbidden City), were undertaken with a grant from the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research provided by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
Still continues collaborative and joint research between HMCC and the Hue University College of Sciences (Urban Planning), and established was the joint research center by renovating small palaces within the Imperial Court of Hue and facilities in the city. The center built a bilateral VPN information network and is accumulating academic data to facilitate the Conservation Science Center.

GPS training conducted with local staff

Excavational research conducted beside the Can Chanh Dien Court tombs

RESULTS

Town planning to secure cultural heritage authenticity and make use of the historic environment

Certainly the research findings are of great value to Vietnam because they contain the most important and largest volume of academic data to contribute to the reconstruction of the Nguyen Dynasty Imperial Court.
When the Prime Minister of Vietnam visited Japan, the Governor of Thura Thien-Hue Province, who exercises control over the said cultural heritage, was also a member of the visiting party. He requested that Japanese organizations join a project of the reconstruction of the Can Chanh Dien Court in a framework of cultural exchange between the two countries; his request is still under negotiation. To say concretely, the Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam has added a restoration plan of the Can Chanh Dien Court to its shortlist of its proposed projects and it has been negotiating with the Japanese government since 2009.
On the other hand, the Complex of Hue Monuments was the first cultural heritage inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1993, which triggered the promotion of a tourism policy and the development of conservation and restoration projects.
Before its inscription, the Complex was conserved only for the prevention of further damage and destruction. The administration on cultural heritage protection aimed to maintain the current condition by formulating policies to protect the Complex from natural disasters and by requesting the international community to provide the minimum funds needed for these policies. After inscription, unguided repair work started without relevant laws and regulations such as Cultural Property Preservation Law, and there is even a danger that it would lower the value of the cultural heritage itself. We have transferred research methods and technologies to overcome this problem; we have consistently pursued policies to share knowledge about how best to carry out conservation and restoration as well as town planning that makes use of the historic environment through collaborative activities. The result is that young researchers are currently being trained with a shared awareness of issues.

International workshop held at the Nguyen Dynasty Hue Imperial Palace and Duyet Thi Duong (Royal Theater)

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