The first digital archive of the valuable historical cultural heritage of ASEAN Member States (AMS) was launched last week, providing an access to the treasures of the entire region. Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are the first countries to be exposed in the new archive.
The ASEAN Cultural Heritage Digital Archive (ACHDA) website showcases for now over 160 digitised heritage items from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. The website allows visitors to have an in-depth look into the collections of museums, galleries, and libraries through three-dimensional (3D) models, images, audio recordings and valuable videos of cultural heritage of the three countries participating in the project’s first phase.
In his opening remarks, Deputy-Secretary General of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Kung Phoak stated, “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.”
“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”, DSG Kung added.
The La Galigo script, an epic written in the 14th century, is one of the digitised documents from Indonesia. The script was inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World registry in 2011. The website also gives a glimpse of a Mak Yong performance from Malaysia, a traditional dramatic dance cum ritual also performed in some parts of the ASEAN region. Meanwhile, Thailand presents a collection of gilded manuscript cabinets in 3D, which viewers can look at 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). Japan Ambassador to ASEAN Akira Chiba further mentioned that “anyone can access many cultural heritage easily and instantly through this ACHDA website anytime and anywhere.”
‘’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,” added Chiba.
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, scheduled to start in mid-2020, will digitise collections from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam. All the AMS will be covered by the project in succeeding years.