The Vietnamese ‘lifesaver’ of old books
Being a Chinese language learner, Phuc has the opportunity to expose to old paper materials in temples, pagodas since sophomore.
“They looked all sacred to me. When I touched them, there’s a really weird feeling. I felt like I had found a treasure”, Phuc talked about his book. “But as I looked at those ancient documents and books being eaten by termites and worms, I immediately thought that something must be done”.
During his two years studying in Taiwan (2014-2015), Phuc got the chance to do a two-month internship at the “Taiwan book Hospital” - where he learned the first knowledge and skills related to renewing old books. He decided to stay in Taiwan for another four years to learn more and horn his skills in the art.
In 2019, the “doctor” returned Vietnam fully-equipped with skills and expertise to start this “old books treatment” career.
|Phuc is renewing an old papers (Photo: VNE)|
|With heavily-damaged books, Phuc has to use expensive chemicals imported from foreign countries (Photo: VNE)|
During the first days, renewing the books that are hundreds of years old was not an easy thing for the young man. He was so nervous he didn’t dare to even touch the books for fear of further damaging the already decayed books.
As he gradually regained confidence, however, things began to go on the right track with each step carefully executed.
He first sweeps all the dirt on each page, then evenly spread the page on the table and cover it with a thin sheet of paper. The page then gets cleaned for the second time before being dried under the sunlight. With heavily-damaged books, Phuc has to use expensive chemicals imported from Taiwan, Japan, the UK, the US, etc.
Besides books, Phuc also renews old paper paintings and silk paintings. He is opening a small “hospital” in his house after a long education. “With the foreign language skills that I and my wife have, we can totally earn more money. But I still do this job out of passion and we find joys in doing this”, Phuc told VNE.
|Phuc and his wife (Photo: VNE)|
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