On May 31, Vietnam Record Book Center (Vietkings) announced a list of 20 Vietnamese records in the fields of culture - religion, gastronomy, arts... to nominate for the Asia Book of Records (ABR).
Among them, five records in the fields of culture - religion are notable, including "the largest bronze-made pagoda" (Chua Dong or Bronze Pagoda in Yen Tu Vestige - Quang Ninh Province), "pagoda with the most special architect" (One Pillar Pagoda – Hanoi ), "pagoda with the largest archive of timber-made Buddhist prayer books" (Vinh Nghiem Pagoda - Bac Giang Province), "the largest gold-inlaid bronze Goddess of Mercy statue" and "the largest gold-inlaid bronze Tam The (Buddha in the past, present and future) statue” (Bai Dinh Pagoda - Ninh Binh Province).
Located on the highest peak of Yen Tu Mountain (1,068m), Chua Dong (Bronze Pagoda) with an area of about 20m² is made entirely of bronze with a total weight of 70 tons. The composition of the pagoda consists 16 bronze columns, of which the highest column is more than 3m and the lowest is 2.6m with a diameter of 20cm to 30cm. In the pagoda, four large bronze statues are placed on the altar. Each statue weighs 4 tons, including Buddha Shakyamuni statue and three statues of three founders of the Truc Lam Zen Buddhism (Tran Nhan Tong, Phap Loa and Huyen Quang). In front of the pagoda, there is also a bronze bell weighing 0.44 tons with a height of 1.52m and 0.9m in diameter.
One Pillar Pagoda is noticed by its unique antique architecture, and considered as one of the symbols of the thousand-of-year capital. The entire pagoda is set on a stone pillar, suggesting an imagery of lotus rising up the water surface. The pagoda has square shape with each side of 3m long and curved roof; on the top of the roof is the shape of two dragons flanking a moon. The stone pillar consists of two blocks, which looks like only one stone block at first view. The pillar is 1.2 m in diameter and 4m in height (not including the submerged part), lifting the entire system of the wood bars which creates a strong framework for the pagoda.
Started up from the Ly Dynasty (the 11th century), Vinh Nghiem Pagoda now reserves a voluminous store of woodblocks in Vietnam with a total of 3,050 plates of carving woodblocks. Of which, the woodblocks of the book “Yen Tu Daily”, dating from the late 16th century is considered as the oldest woodblocks. The woodblock is a plate of wood on which words written in Chinese or Chinese transcribed Vietnamese were carved in reverse; after printing to paper, the word will be in right order. Sizes of the woodblocks are not equal, depending on each prayer-book, the largest one is more than 1m in length and 40 - 50cm in width, the smallest one is about 15 x 20 cm in dimension. Presently, the Buddhist woodblock Bible in Vinh Nghiem Pagoda is considered as a large, value and unique book store.
Bai Dinh Pagoda is known with many Vietnamese records established, of which two records nominated for ABR, including: the gold-inlaid bronze Goddess of Mercy statue weighs 80 tons, 9.57m high and the gold-inlaid bronze Tam The (Buddha in the past, present and future) statues, each statue weighs 50 tons, 7.2 m high.
Besides the records in the field of culture - religion, Vietkings also listed other records in the fields of gastronomy, arts for the first nomination of 20 Vietnamese records such as: the collector of largest collection of butterflies (Mr. Nguyen Viet Vui); the one with the largest number of unique self-made musical instruments (Artist Mai Dinh Toi); the painter who draws the largest number of portraits of world famous people (Painter Le Quang Vu)...; the largest banh day (Vietnamese rice cake); the largest banh nam (Hue’s rice cake); the largest banh trang nuoc dua (girdle cake with coconut juice)…
Vietkings is the representative of the ABR in Vietnam for nominating and providing information of Vietnamese records. The nomination of 20 Vietnamese records for ABR not only asserts and honors the special cultural values of these records but also contributes to introduce the beauty of the country and Vietnamese people to the world.
Complied by Phuong Anh – Pham Phuong (TITC)
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