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Tang Tho Lau and story of book donations

TTH.VN - Although Hue is a land known for its numerous national-scale libraries and archives, the work of Tang Tho Lau (or Tang Thu Lau - Archive Pavilion) - also known as Lau Tang Tho (or Tang Thu), is still considered a rare “Treasure of the Ancients” of the monarchy period that has been remarkably preserved.

Creating the most favorable environment to encourage people to write and read booksIntroduction to the work "Ngự chế minh văn cổ khí đồ" by Emperor Minh MangMany reading activities to be held at the provincial library

 Tang Tho Lau. Photo: N.H

Historical records state that in the summer of 1825, Emperor Minh Mang permitted the construction of Tang Tho Lau, situated amidst Hoc Hai Lake, near Tinh Tam Lake, and connected to the mainland by a stone bridge. Its strategic location not only offered a picturesque view but also ensured the safety of this facility, functioning as a national-level repository of documents. The people of Hue take great pride in owning Tang Tho Lau.

In 1945, as the Nguyen Dynasty ended, Tang Tho Lau also ceased to function as a national repository. For several decades, it appeared to have been forgotten.

Two years ago, Tang Tho Lau underwent restoration and put into use. The efforts of the staff at Hue Monuments Conservation Center went beyond the reconstruction of Tang Tho Lau's original state, as they “revived” it as a regional and national-scale archive center, restoring its rightful position and role in history.

On Vietnam Book Day, April 21, 2023, an exhibition titled “Preserving History - Discovering Tang Tho Lau” was organized at this historical cultural site. It was a delight to learn of the numerous donated valuable books and documents displayed at the exhibition.

To acquire these valuable materials, Hue Monuments Conservation Center previously launched a donation program, accepting contributions of documents and books. The exhibition not only showcased these items but also honored individuals and organizations that participated in the donation program and contributed images and materials.

It is worth mentioning that two years ago, at Tang Tho Lau, the People's Committee of Thua Thien Hue Province held a ceremony to announce the Hue Bookcase Project. This “bookcase” aims to promote the image of Hue through books and create a meaningful cultural gift representing the Ancient Capital land.

According to project, the construction of the “Hue Bookcase” aims to preserve various books about Hue that are in risk of being lost or scattered. Throughout the process, the province directed to invite units and individuals who own valuable books and bookcases to participate and promote their values. This effort seeks to spread these values to the community, as well as preserve and conserve these precious books to future generations.

It is not a coincidence that Hue is known as the “city of books”. It can be said that, looking at the history of this impoverished land, books are its highlight.

Since the early 20th century, many scholars from the French School of the Far East (École Francaise d'Extrême-Orient) in Hanoi have come to Hue to study ancient documents on history and culture. Hue was considered on par with major cultural centers like Hanoi and Saigon at that time, thanks to its wealth of books. Despite the tumultuous history of wars, floods, and humid weather, many people in Hue still remain steadfast in protecting books.

The restoration of Tang Tho Lau and the construction of the Hue Bookcase are necessary. However, more importantly, the souls contained within these structures need to be preserved, cherished, and promoted. And thus, the contributions and donations valuable of images and materials to Tang Tho Lau and Hue Bookcase deserve the utmost respect and recognition.

Story: DAN DUY
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