The Imperial Records are the records of the administration of eleven of the thirteen emperors of the Nguyen dynasty. The Nguyen dynasty was the last feudal dynasty in Vietnam. A centralised system for managing the imperial records was in place and most administrative documents were submitted to the Emperor for comment and approval. The documents were preserved by each administration and include royal proclamations, edicts, decrees, petitions and reports.
The Imperial Records reflect the many aspects of social, political and cultural life at a time when Vietnam moved from being an independent country to being a French colony. Topics covered include diplomatic relationships; economic, education, health and cultural policies; military activities and government administration. They provide evidence of political and diplomatic relations with China, Siam, Cambodia and other countries. Personal information on the emperors includes their dates of birth and death, dates of ascending to the throne, their health status, health treatments and their works of literature. The records also include information on many Vietnamese including politicians, cultural celebrities, scientists and scholars.
The inscription on the Asia-Pacific Memory of the World Register consists of about 85,000 documents contained in 773 volumes. The Imperial Records were handwritten on poonah paper, made from the bark of the Rhamnoneuron plant, with a brush and drafted by clerks who were recruited for their writing skills.
Four different scripts are used: Chinese, Nom (Chinese transcribed Vietnamese), French and Vietnamese. Both the seals and the comments made by the emperors are written in red ink. The collection is not complete as many of the Imperial Records have been lost because of the impact of war and climate.
MOWCAP Regional Register