Local temple manuscripts registered as UNESCO World Memory

Archives and manuscripts of the local Kong Tac Lam Temple have been inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

Nestled in a narrow descending alley in the Penha district and surrounded by low-rise residential buildings – also known as tong lau – the temple’s name suggests its nature as a monastery for nuns in Buddhist understanding.

According to data provided by the local government to UNESCO, the collection, dating from the late Ming Dynasty to mid-20th century, comprises over 6,600 volumes of archives and manuscripts in 2,300 titles, rare books, Bayeux Sutra, old photos and paintings.

These materials were created and collected by masters and the intelligentsia connected with the temple since its formal establishment in 1924 as a result of its educational and cultural activities, especially for women in Macau, mainland China and surrounding areas.

An important documentary heritage of Macau, the collection shows the unique and extraordinary role of the temple in the dissemination of Buddhist teaching and ideology for women in the region, as well as in advocating social change and reform, especially in the liberation of women and raising of their social status.

Macau featured in another Spanish inscription. The Royal Philanthropic Expedition of the Smallpox Vaccine, 1800-1820, pointed out that this mission had helped save lives in Macau and Guangzhou. AL

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