Buddhist woodblocks aim for UNESCO Heritage

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The Truc Lam Zen Buddhist Prayer Woodblocks in northern Vietnam have been submitted for recognition as a UNESCO World Documentary Heritage, after the Nguyen Dynasty Woodblocks were recognized last year.

The Truc Lam collection originated at the Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, which follows the Truc Lam Zen Buddhist sect, founded by King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong in the late 13th century in the northern province of Bac Giang.

According to Vinh Nghiem Pagoda's head monk, Thich Thanh Vinh, the collection includes different sized 3,050 separate woodblocks, carved in Chinese and Nom (ancient Vietnamese writing) during the 17th-19th century.

Apart from being the only Buddhist woodblocks of prayers belonging to the Truc Lam sect, the collection is also a testament to the extensive and diverse history of Buddhism, and a valuable documentary source for studying the history of local woodblock carving and the printing industry as well as the early days of the Vietnamese language and script.

The blocks' application was submitted to UNESCO March 31.

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