Monday, 29/05/2023
Imperial record of Nguyen dynasty - a documentary heritage in Asia-Pacific region
Update1/10/2019 7:41:34 AM
Imperial records of Nguyen dynasty are administrative documents under Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945) promulgated by Emperors. These are precious documents about politics, economy, military and social affairs under Nguyen dynasty. In May 2014, the imperial record of Nguyen dynasty was recognized as a documentary heritage of the Memory of the World Committee for Asia-Pacific region.

Director of Hue Monuments Conservation Center Dr. Phan Thanh Hai kindly informed that imperial records of Nguyen dynasty were reports, petition, royal proclamation, decree, etc. (documents of State agencies and organizations) of Nguyen dynasty storage - observed and approved by the Emperor. After having consulted "comment papers” of the Cabinet and the six ministries, the Emperor would directly noted down his agreement and refusal, etc on the documents. These are administrative documents filed during the operation of Feudal apparatus under Nguyen dynasty from central to local level. These records comprehensively showed politics, economy, culture, social affairs, military, diplomatic affairs of Vietnam under the reign of 13 Nguyen Emperors (1802-1945)".
Types of imperial records under Nguyen dynasty include edicts, royal proclamation, decrees, list, reports, petition, translation of diplomatic documents and other official papers. There are 6 types of royal note on imperial records. They are unique characteristic of imperial records.

Types of royal notes of the Emperor on imperial documents

- Emperor Gia Long: There are not many documents of Emperor Gia Long still stored today. These documents are mainly about herbs of Royal Medicine Institute and population list. Careful notes remained on imperial records show the concern of Emperor Gia Long on army recruitment even in peacetime. The content and form of these royal records show the characteristics of each Emperor.

- Emperor Minh Menh: The royal notes of Emperor Minh Menh in different forms ranging from handwriting to circle, etc. Emperor Minh Menh mainly noted on agriculture promotion policies to develop agricultural economy for a peaceful and prosperous country.

- Emperor Tu Duc: The royal notes of Emperor Tu Duc came in different forms ranging from handwriting to circle, etc. His notes on economy, politics, culture, ideology, custom, etc show a more comprehensive view towards historic situation, socio-economic situation, politics, diplomatic relation in late XIX century.

- Emperor Thieu Tri: Emperor Thieu Tri had various forms of royal notes on imperial records. The Emperor mainly noted on culture, politics, military, agriculture and dike. Being a poem lover, Emperor Thieu Tri showed his gentleness through royal notes.

- Emperor Kien Phuc: At present, there is only one document filed under the reign of Emperor Kien Phuc at National Archives Center I.

- Emperor Dong Khanh: As Emperor Dong Khanh did not have power in practice, Emperor Dong Khanh mainly noted on expenditure, salary and mandarin appointment.

- Emperor Thanh Thai: Emperor Thanh Thai took interest and noted on fields such as culture, education, mandarin appointment, army, especially education. These royal notes showed his concern about the number of student studying at the Imperial Academy, school regulation, mandarin appointment and candidates at schools in province.

- Emperor Duy Tan: Emperor Duy Tan mainly noted on culture, education, mandarin appointment, ect. Through his royal notes, we can realize that Emperor specially concerned about studying, examinations, carving and printing history books.

- Emperor Khai Dinh: Emperor Khai Dinh mainly noted on affairs regarding to offering ceremony, theater, appointment, rewards and punishment.

- Emperor Bao Dai reign: Emperor Bao Dai noted on the document in three languages i.e. Vietnamese, French, Chinese. His notes came in diverse forms such as handwriting, circle, etc. The royal notes of Emperor Bao Dai were mainly about economy, rewards, punishment, offering ceremony and diplomatic affairs.

Being home to imperial records, Hue ancient capital has a great demand of exploiting and promoting values of the imperial records. Therefore, it is necessary for management and competent agencies to coordinate closely to bring imperial records back to Hue. It is also an effective way to honor values ofimperial record in its homeland.
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