Buddhist Sutra woodblocks of Truc Lam Zen at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda(World Documentary Heritage)
Buddhist Sutra Woodblocks at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda (Tri Yen Commune, Yen Dung District, Bac Giang Province) is the only original woodblocks of Truc Lam Zen Buddhism preserved at the pagoda.
Since foundingTrucLamZen Buddhism(the late 13th century), King Tran Nhan Tong(1258-1308)
had some important texts, sutras edited, engraved, and published to
popular ideology of Buddhism in general and master monks of Truc Lam Zen
Buddhism in particular. However, most of the woodblocks were destroyed
or lost due to war and weather.
the late 19th and the early 20th century, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda was chosen
to be one of the training centers of Vietnamese Buddhism Association
where store records of Buddhist monks and nuns nationwide and major
publishing house of Vietnamese Buddhism. The collection of woodblocks
engraved in this period includes 3,050 woodblocks, most of which are
Buddhist texts, sutras, writings of three Vietnamese master monks (Dieu
Ngu Giac Hoang Tran Nhan Tong (1258 – 1308), Phap Loa Dong Kien Cuong
(1284 – 1330), Huyen Quang Ly Dao Tai (1254 – 1334)) and some other
master monks of Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen Buddhism. Besides, Vinh Nghiem
Pagoda also has some woodblocks to print so, diep,
a kind of document is only available in Truc Lam Zen Buddhism.
Especially, the pagoda stores some wood texts about treatment by
medicinal herbs, acupuncture…
woodblocks at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda were made by artisans of the craft
villages in Bac Giang, Bac Ninh provinces and especially Lieu Trang
Craft Village (Hai Duong Province) – where specializes in engraving
woodblocks. All woodblocks are made of thi
wood. The majority of the blocks feature printing on both sides and
have been engraved with Chinese and Nom (a classical vernacular script
of Vietnamese language) characters in a mirror like fashion. Depth of
the engravings is approximately 1 - 1.5 mm, so prints on do paper are very clear. And every page in a book printed this way has a bien lan (border), a ban tam (title in the centerfold), and ngu vi (blank corners). Especially, the first or the last page of the book contains lac khoan, which is a means of showing the date, artisan, and place of origin.
size of the woodblock depends on the categories of the sutras. The
biggest woodblock is over 100cm in length and 40-50cm in width. The
smallest one is only 15 x 20cm.
woodblocks at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda show the formation, development and
ideology of Truc Lam Zen Buddhism, at the same time also mark the
development of Nom writing system through the periods. This is also an
excellent work of art with unique, original and irreplaceable features.
Through this collection of woodblocks, readers can exploit plentiful
information about many fields as religion, language, literature,
On 16th May 2012, at the meeting of Asia Pacific Regional Committee of UNESCO held in Bangkok (Thailand),
Buddhist Sutra Woodblocks of Truc Lam Zen at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda was
recognized as World Documentary Heritage in Memory of the World
Programme, based on three criteria as authenticity; uniqueness,
irreplaceability; and its position and role in the region.