China plays increasing role in safeguarding and showcasing regional landmarks

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Source: China Daily 20190404

Source: China Daily 20190404

via China Daily, 04 April 2019: Chinese soft power playing out in Southeast Asia through cultural heritage preservation.

In an interview with Xinhua News Agency in January, Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona thanked the Chinese government for supporting her country in preserving its national heritage. She also expressed hope for skills exchanges through such collaboration.

“We’re confident in the abilities of Chinese experts, and through these projects, we hope that Cambodian experts will be capable of renovating temples by themselves in the future,” Sackona said.

China became involved at Angkor after joining the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor, also known as ICCAngkor, an international campaign launched by Cambodia and UNESCO in 1993. It also funded years of excavation and renovation of the Ta Keo Temple at Angkor, which was built about 1,000 years ago.

Source: Nation plays vital role in safeguarding and showcasing regional landmarks –

Categories: Angkor Cambodia


Bringing salvaged wooden ships and artifacts back to life with ‘smart’ nanotech

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via ScienceDaily, 21 August 2018: Not about Southeast Asia, but of interest to underwater archaeologists. A possible way to preserve wood recovered from underwater contexts through the use of smart nanocomposite particles.

When a shipwreck is brought up from the sea depths, the wood quickly starts deteriorating. Scientists are reporting a novel way to use ‘smart’ nanocomposites to conserve a 16th-century British warship, the Mary Rose, and its artifacts. The new approach could help preserve other salvaged ships by eliminating harmful acids without damaging the wooden structures themselves.

Source: Bringing salvaged wooden ships and artifacts back to life with ‘smart’ nanotech

Preserving literary heritage

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via Bangkok Post, 09 April 2018: Digitisation of Northern Thai Manuscripts Project

At Wat Sung Men in Phrae province, monks and a dozen local villagers are busy scanning the temple’s old manuscripts into a computer. The same activity, in fact, is happening at several temples in the North, including Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong in Chiang Mai as well as others in Lamphun and Nan. Initiated by a German professor, the novel efforts of digitising and conserving ancient manuscripts have caught on with enthusiasm among locals.

Source: Preserving literary heritage

Bagan residents seek greater share of ticket sales for preservation

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Conservation of mural paintings in Bagan. Source: Myanmar Times 20160315

Bagan residents are seeking a greater portion of ticket revenues to help with the preservation of the monuments – the current rate is an appalling 2%, which is up from the previous rate of 0.

Conservation of mural paintings in Bagan. Source: Myanmar Times 20160315

Conservation of mural paintings in Bagan. Source: Myanmar Times 20160315

Bagan locals seek bigger slice of entrance fee for pagoda preservation
Myanmar Times, 15 March 2016

Bagan needs more cash
TTR Weekly, 17 March 2016

Bagan residents want more. Outraged at the disclosure that only 2 percent of the takings from the entrance fees paid by tourists goes toward the upkeep of the ancient religious buildings that constitute one of the country’s premier tourist sites, they are taking up the matter with the incoming government.

The Bagan Regional Development Association, a group organised by local tourist guides, and residents also object to the secrecy that they say surrounds the collection operations of the Myanmar Tourism Federation.

Association chair U Khin Maung Nu told a press conference in Bagan on March 13 that they want to see “at least half” the takings from the Bagan tourism zone to go to the maintenance of the pagodas and regional development.

Full story here and here.

Italy to help support conservation and restoration in Vietnam’s Quang Nam province

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Italy is helping to fund a programme to set up a vocational training programme to help with the restoration and preservation of sites in Quang Nam province, home of the My Son Sanctuary.

Quang Nam heritage conservation project gets financial support
Viet Nam News, 02 November 2015

A project on restoration and preservation of heritage sites in Quang Nam is being implemented, Vice-Director of Quang Nam’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Xuan Tinh said.
The project involves the setting up of a vocational training centre.

The initiative aims to increase management and competency in preserving cultural and relic sites in the central province. It could also increase the value of local cultural heritage spots.

The project is being launched as part of co-operation between the relevant agencies of the department and Quang Nam Vocational School.

Full story here.

In Hoi An, disagreement over how to preserve a bridge

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Chua Cau bridge in Hoi An. Source: Thanh Nien News 20150703

Heritage experts are at a loss at how to preserve an iconic landmark in Hoi An, the Chua Cau bridge, which is both historic and at the same time still in use.

Chua Cau bridge in Hoi An. Source: Thanh Nien News 20150703

Chua Cau bridge in Hoi An. Source: Thanh Nien News 20150703

Heads scratched in Hoi An about how to preserve ancient bridge
Thanh Nien News, 03 July 2015

Authorities in the ancient town of Hoi An have yet to find a solution for the preservation of an iconic 400-year-old bridge though its state of repair has been worsening for at least 16 years.

Nguyen Chi Trung, director of the Hoi An Center for Cultural Heritage Management Preservation, said experts are divided over how to restore Chua Cau (Pagoda Bridge) — a complex consisting of a bridge over a small canal and a pagoda on one end.

Trung said on one hand, they suggested “placing the site in a glass cage”, meaning that it should be put under restriction and a new bridge should be built next to it so that visitors can admire it without using it.
But others said that the addition of a new bridge would change the whole view, he said.

Yet others said the bridge should be restored but used because it is also a traffic facility.

Full story here.

Tourism growth in Bagan a source of worry

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Not altogether unexpected that the opening up of Myanmar and growing numbers of tourists to the famed Bagan complex is a source of worry for the continued preservation of the site.

Myanmar’s ancient city of Bagan is victim of its own success [Link no longer active]
Dalje, 03 June 2015

The city of Bagan, one of Myanmar’s most recognised and visited historical sites, is under pressure from growing hordes of tourists, despite regulation to conserve the site.

At the 11th-century Shwesantaw pagoda, one of the taller structures, “you can see hundreds of visitors at sunset every evening,” said Win Zaw Cho, chairman of Tourist Guides Association in Bagan Zone.

“Everyone who visits Bagan wants to see sunset or sunrise over the ancient temples and pagoda. It is a big, big demand and becomes a threat to old pagodas,” he said.

About 30 per cent of the more than 2 million tourists who visited Myanmar last year went to Bagan, according to the Culture Ministry.