Ancient books on display

Writer: Cao Zhen  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2022-08-03

Visitors admire ancient books at Shenzhen Museum’s ancient art division. Sun Yuchen 

Ancient Chinese texts are classified into four categories, namely jing (classics), shi (history), zi (philosophy) and ji (literature). Since 2017, the Shenzhen Museum has been tidying up its ancient book collections and from 2018 to 2020, it has exhibited selected books from the classics and history categories. Last year, some books from the philosophy category were exhibited and the current exhibition continues showcasing this category, displaying 1,764 books.

“Journey to the West” printed in the Qing Dynasty. Cao Zhen 

Visitors can have a glimpse into ancient Chinese people’s thoughts, tastes, styles and features through some fine art books with elegant illustrations, novels, Buddhist scriptures and reference books with material taken from various sources and arranged according to subjects. Famous books include “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” printed in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), “Book of Han” printed in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), “Records of the Grand Historian” printed in the Ming Dynasty and “Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden” printed in the Qing Dynasty.

“Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden” printed in the Qing Dynasty. Cao Zhen

The Shenzhen Museum’s past ancient book exhibitions have received wide acclaim from experts and visitors. As some books had been printed and revised several times in different dynasties, visitors can also learn background information about fonts, layouts, binding and packaging in different dynasties.

A Go manual printed in the Qing Dynasty. Cao Zhen 

“On July 23, China inaugurated the National Archives of Publications and Culture in Beijing for preserving bibliography resources, with three other branches in Xi’an, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou, respectively. The institution serves as the Chinese culture ‘seed gene bank’ and is a cultural treasure to be handed down to future generations. The Shenzhen Museum has exhibited ancient books since 2018 and we are proud of our efforts in preserving and inheriting Chinese culture,” said Guo Xuelei, deputy director of the Shenzhen Museum.

He stressed that the Shenzhen Museum will learn from China National Archives of Publications and Culture in collection, exhibition, research and communication in the future and adopt more creative ways to display the Chinese culture to the public.

Visitors rest in front of an installation printed with Buddhist scriptures. Cao Zhen 

Dates: Until Oct. 30

Booking: WeChat account “iszbwg”

Venue: Shenzhen Museum (of Ancient Art), Futian District (福田区深圳博物馆古代艺术馆)

Metro: Line 9 to Hongling South Station (红岭南站), Exit A