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Korean cultural heritage experts share stories of restoration projects in Southeast Asia Updated: 2021-01-14 10:06:30 KST

Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
South Korean cultural heritage experts have been working in these Southeast Asian countries since 2009, restoring and preserving cultural assets.
The experts in charge of each country don't usually have a chance to meet, but the pandemic forced them to come back home.
And the members of the cultural heritage official development assistance team decided to use that time at home to write a book.

"Our foundation's cultural heritage ODA team has been working for around ten years at the site, and I thought having vivid stories rather than just research papers would be great. If we collect episodes and put them together as a whole, I thought it could be a manual people can take a look at in the future.

One of hidden stories is on the Hindu Temple Hong Nang Sida in Laos, part of the Vat Phou and Associated Ancient Settlements UNESCO world heritage site.
The 12th century Khmer temple was heavily damaged and in need of urgent restoration.
Analyzing the temple's overall condition was the first step, then following the strict principle of using the original stones, experts opened up a "stone hospital" to make the originals usable once more.

"There was a lack of infrastructure no electricity, no heavy instruments. Combining Korean traditional techniques that I learned from restoring the Stone Pagoda of Mireuksa Temple Site, with traditional Lao techniques, we were able to effectively take apart and restore the asset."

The sizzling heat made the restoration hard, but an even bigger difficulty than climate was cultural difference.

"The most basic thing I believed was to understand and respect their culture. I urged our researchers to first of all learn and communicate through the local Lao language."

The second phase of the project is to begin this year.
The director emphasizes the importance of Korea's support for the restoration of the historical assets, and how it can boost trust and cooperation between Korea and the Southeast Asian countries.
Kim Bo-kyoung, Arirang news.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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