The 17th-century stone stele of the national monument of Tho Ha pagoda (Van Ha commune, H.Viet Yen, Bac Giang) was broken during the move, causing many people to question the quality of restoration.
Exemplary stele goes into books
The Vietnamese pagoda heritage lovers forum stirred when the images of the stone stele of Tho Ha pagoda were posted. In which, there is a tetrahedral stele tied with a horizontal rope when broken into 2 large pieces and a few odd pieces during the hoisting process. This image was first posted on the Facebook of the ancient village of Tho Ha with the words: “Unfortunately, the lifting of the stele has encountered obstacles”. Later, the owner of this Facebook page deleted this image, but it was downloaded and posted on the Vietnamese pagoda forum.
This stele has been familiar to generations of heritage lovers. One of them, Dr. Pham Van Tuan (Institute of Han Nom Studies) used to come here to study since he was a student. “Seventeenth century beer is not much. This is another beautiful beer. The pattern on it is very beautiful,” said Dr. Tuan. Regarding the broken beer, Mr. Tuan said: “The restoration is too sloppy”.
Tho Ha Pagoda is one of the typical beautiful pagodas of the Northern Delta. Therefore, when the Institute of Monuments Conservation (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) released the book on Vietnamese temple architecture through the Institute for Monuments Conservation volume 1, researchers spent many pages describing the temple and gems here. The book has a passage: “There are still 9 stone steles in the temple, recording the process of creating and restoring the pagoda through the ages. In which, there is a stele Tam Bao Thi Bi created in the year of Thinh Duc (1653) and a rather large four-sided stele named Thuy creating Dai Thach Bi, The Tam Quan Tam Quan Doan Minh was built in the 4th year of Vinh Tri (1679). “. The broken stele is the four-sided stele The general three Quan Quan Doan Minh self-compassionate.
400-year-old stone stele in Thien Mu pagoda
Residents here also said there was a broken statue. “That day was to raise the foundation of the temple, after building the foundation to pump sand in, it eroded and tilted the statue of Duc Pho Hien”, this person informed.
Will re-examine the entire monument
Information from the Bac Giang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that the department has assigned the handling of the case to the Cultural Heritage Management Department. Mr. Nguyen Huu Phuong, Head of Cultural Heritage Management Department, confirmed that there was a case of 1679 tetrahedral beer breaking while moving. Mr. Phuong said: “We have made a report and sent it to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for advice and direction. The document was sent on September 10.
According to this document, the project of renovation and restoration of Tho Ha pagoda has been agreed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The project started in December 2019, by H.Viet Yen Construction Investment Project Management Board as the investor and construction supervisor. Joint Stock Company for the preservation of Vietnamese cultural and architectural heritage is the construction unit.
According to the document, on September 8, the construction unit organized to move the stone stele (at the position of the courtyard in front of the Tam Bao building) to the preservation position, in order to get the ground for raising the foundation of the Tho Ha pagoda campus. The construction unit dug around the stele, used a cloth rope to tie it to the body of the stele, and used a crane to lift it (to thread the rope through the base of the stele to tie the entire stele before moving). “However, when lifting the beer, the beer body was separated into many pieces. After the above incident, the construction unit stopped the moving work and reported it to the authorities,” the document said.
According to the document signed by the Director of the Bac Giang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Tran Minh Ha, the parties did not fully assess the status of the beer, so the above incident happened. This department has asked the investor to stop moving the stele, use canvas to wrap the body and base of the stele, preserve the fragments of the stele; driving stakes to create a protective corridor; create a temporary roof during the reporting period and seek guidance from the competent authority.
Reread the historical epitaph of Hai An pagoda
“In order for the implementation of the project to restore and embellish Tho Ha pagoda to ensure progress, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism proposed the Ministry to allow the investor to bind and transport beer to a suitable location to create a ground for restoration. construction services; based on the stamped print of the epitaph, and on the basis of other relevant documents to restore the stele”, the department proposed. However, the minutes do not say anything about whether any statues were damaged during the restoration process.
Mr. Nguyen Van Phuong, Chairman of Viet Yen District People’s Committee (Investor of Tho Ha pagoda renovation project) also said that he is focusing on remedial work and will clarify responsibility for this incident.
According to some Han Nom experts, preserving the museum, in addition to the broken ancient stele, the images of the temple’s renovation have many worrying things. In particular, the preservation and movement of artifacts (such as the head of a stone dragon, etc.) are also potentially risky. Regarding this, Mr. Tran Minh Ha said that the Department has also arranged supervisors; However, the main responsibility still lies with the investor.
Tho Ha Pagoda, also known as Doan Minh Tu, was recognized as a historical and cultural relic by the state in 1996. The project to restore and embellish Tho Ha pagoda (Viet Yen, Bac Giang) was started on December 19, 2019. by Viet Yen District Investment Project Management Board as the investor and project supervisor. JSC Conservation of Vietnamese cultural and architectural heritage is the construction unit.