Asean launches digital archive of region’s cultural heritage

JAKARTA — The first digital of the valuable historical and cultural heritage of Asean member-states was launched Thursday, according to a written statement issued by the Asean Secretariat.

The Asean Cultural Digital Archive (ACHDA) website showcases over 160 digitized heritage items from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

The website provides visitors with an in-depth look into the collections of museums, galleries and libraries through three-dimensional (3D) models, images, audio recordings, and valuable videos of the cultural heritage of the three countries participating in the project’s first phase.

The ACHDA project is an important step in Asean’s pursuit towards enhancing the public’s understanding and appreciation of the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the region, Deputy-Secretary General of the Asean Socio-Cultural Community Kung Phoak stated in his opening remarks.

“I hope Asean citizens using the website will better appreciate the shared cultural heritage and instill in them a greater regional sense of belonging as we work towards fostering Asean identity. Today’s launching of the ACHDA website is timely as we celebrate the 2020 Year of Asean Identity,” Kung Phoak said.

The La Galigo script, an epic written in the 14th century, is one of the digitized documents from Indonesia. The script was inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World registry in 2011.

The website also provides a glimpse of a Mak Yong performance from Malaysia, a traditional dramatic dance ritual also performed in some parts of the Asean region.

Meanwhile, Thailand presents a collection of gilded manuscript cabinets in 3D, where viewers can explore the intricately crafted stories involving mythical creatures in greater detail.

The project is supported by the government of Japan through the Japan-Asean Integration Fund (JAIF).

Anyone can access the cultural heritage easily and instantly through this ACHDA website anytime and anywhere, Japan Ambassador to Asean Akira Chiba further said.

“This is an innovative project benefitting not only Asean but the whole world. It is my pleasure to see advanced Japanese technology playing an indispensable role to launch this project using JAIF,” Chiba said.

The ACHDA website also features a wide and rich collection of palm leaf manuscripts, modern and contemporary art, stone inscriptions, sculptures and statues, weapons and golden jewels.

The first phase of the project began in 2018 and the second phase targets digitization of the collections from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

All the ASEAN member-states will be covered by the project in succeeding years.

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