On November 26th at the Ninth General Meeting of UNESCO Memory of the World Regional Committee for Asia and the Pacific (MOWCAP) held from November 23 to November 26 in Andong, Korea, the Ma Nhai inscriptions on the Ngu Hanh Son Mountains in Da Nang was officially recognized as part of the documentary heritage of Asia and the Pacific.
The MOWCAP General Meeting considered 13 applications from 7 member countries submitted for the register of the Memory of the World Program in the Asia-Pacific region in which Korea and Indonesia had 3 submissions, China and Viet Nam had 2 submissions, and Singapore, Iran, and Bangladesh each had 1.
Both Vietnamese submissions of the Ma Nhai inscriptions at the Marble Mountains and Sino-Nom handwritten documents from Truong Luu Village, Ha Tinh Province (1689-1943) were honored.
The City's delegation led by Vice Chairwoman of the City People's Council Nguyen Thi Anh Thi receiving MOWCAP’s recognition of the Ma Nhai inscriptions. Photo credit: Da Nang Museum
Ms. Nguyen Thi Anh Thi, Vice Chairwoman of the People's Council of Da Nang City, said that the Ma Nhai inscriptions at the scenic Marble Mountains is a system of 78 writings in Chinese and Nom characters (Han Nom) engraved on the cliffs and caves of the Marble Mountains with various contents, unique forms, and many literary genres, by kings and mandarins of the Nguyen Dynasty, monks, and scholars dating from the first half of the 17th century to the 20th century.
Specifically, with his many visits to Marble Mountains, King Minh Mang wrote 7 inscriptions on the caves: Huyen Khong, Tang Chon, Van Thong, Linh Nham, Thien Phuoc Dia, Van Can Nguyet Quat, and Van Nguyet Coc.
The Ma Nhai inscriptions of the Marble Mountains were a means to record the names of ancient villages and preserve them for the past few hundred years and for the future. Many places written on the Marble Mountains have provided the history of many ancient villages in Da Nang and Quang Nam today.
According to experts, this is a rare, unique, and irreplaceable document of heritageand is of interest to domestic and foreign researchers because of its multifaceted value to history, religion, geography, literature, language, visual arts, culture, and education.
In particular, the Ma Nhai inscription of "Pho Da Son Linh Trung Phat" preserves the memory of economic, cultural, political, and social exchanges between Viet Nam and other countries on the trans-regional maritime route as well as the image of Vietnamese women in international marriages in the 17th century.
Ma Nhai inscriptions at the Marble Mountains were highly appreciated by members of MOWCAP by meeting UNESCO’s criteria of authenticity and integrity, regional significance, gender significance, and existing plan to preserve and promote sustainability and scientific value.
With these outstanding values, Ma Nhai inscriptions at the Marble Mountains have been highly appreciated by the MOWCAP Council and recognized as a Documentary Heritage under the Memory of the World Program in the Asia-Pacific region. This is the first recognized Documentary Heritage site in Da Nang.