Skip to Content

Ancient Chinese Book Resources from the National Library of China
View all itemsView all items
 

The National Library of China (NLC) houses an impressive array of collections, particularly the collection of ancient and rare Chinese books. The "Ancient Chinese Book Resources from the National Library of China" showcases part of the digitised ancient Chinese books collection in NLC, including "Epigraphic and Pictorial Rubbings", "New Year Pictures" and "Gazetteers", etc. Part of the resources have been uploaded onto the Multimedia Information System of the Hong Kong Public Libraries to enhance the public's understanding of ancient books and enable them to better appreciate the charm and richness of Chinese culture.

SEARCH WITHIN THE COLLECTION OF ANCIENT CHINESE BOOK RESOURCES FROM THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF CHINA


Related link:

Thematic website for the "Digital Resources of Ancient Chinese Books from the National Library of China"
https://mmis.hkpl.gov.hk/nlc  Thematic website

 

Rare Books Highlights from the National Library of China

Rare Books Highlights from the National Library of China

The National Library of China (NLC) houses an impressive array of collections, particularly the collection of ancient and rare Chinese books. The "Highlights of Rare Books and Special Collections from the National Library of China" showcases 42 selected treasures from the NLC in five broad categories, namely "Rare Books", "Dunhuang Documents", "Epigraphic and Pictorial Rubbings", "Maps and Atlases" and "Texts and Illustrations from China's Ethnic Minorities". Through this online exhibition, readers may catch a glimpse of ancient Chinese civilisation and gain a deeper understanding of the Chinese culture.

 
New Year Pictures Collection from the National Library of China

New Year Pictures Collection from the National Library of China

The "New Year Pictures Collection from the National Library of China" holds about 300 New Year pictures, covering a wide range of subjects including lifestyles and customs, historical stories, myths and legends, auspicious and festive occasions, pictures of gods, humorous satire, etc.

New Year pictures have a long history in China. Allegedly, they existed as early as the Han dynasty. According to ancient documents, the character first appeared in Chinese folk New Year pictures is "Door God". Traditional New Year pictures are typically in the form of water-based coloured woodblock print. Most of them feature simple lines and vivid colours, showing an unadorned style and a lively atmosphere. New Year pictures have high artistic value and strong cultural content.

 
Local Gazetteers Collection from the National Library of China

Local Gazetteers Collection from the National Library of China

"All places have their past documented in historical records, countries and localities alike." As "comprehensive historical records" and "local encyclopedias" of places, local gazetteers (difangzhi) are part and parcel of Chinese ancient books and represent a unique cultural legacy containing a rich collection of information. They provide true accounts of the past history and different aspects of places in a systematic and comprehensive way, giving a vivid picture of their prevailing administration, economy, society and culture. As such, they are essential in the promotion of cultures of localities.

The Local Gazetteers Collection contains over 3 000 000 pages of images of specific themes, covering gazetteers of various localities such as Shaanxi, Shandong, Hubei, Yunnan, Guizhou, Xinjiang, Jiangxi, Qinghai. These gazetteers are categorised into provincial gazetteers (cunmu), prefectural and county gazetteers, village and town gazetteers, landscape gazetteers etc. They comprise ancient local gazetteers and newly edited local gazetteers, which depict in detail people's lives and local aspects of various localities over the past few centuries in the perspectives of administration, economy, military, culture, landscape, geography, projects, rhymes and proverbs, dialects etc.

 
Epigraphic and Pictorial Rubbings Collection from the National Library of China

Epigraphic and Pictorial Rubbings Collection from the National Library of China

The National Library of China boasts an encyclopedic collection of epigraphic and pictorial rubbings. Its collection of digitised rubbing images amounts to more than 29 000, ranging from the Han dynasty to contemporary China. These rubbings were made from the inscriptions on gravestones, epitaphs, statues, portraits of past ages, as well as the treasured pieces of painting and calligraphy of masters including Wang Xizhi, Yan Zhenqing, Su Shi, Mi Fu, Zhao Mengfu, Dong Qichang, Emperor Qianlong and Weng Fanggang.

"Jin" refers to metal products such as zhong (bell) and ding (cauldron), whereas "shi" is the inscription on stone tablets. Ancient Chinese started to incise or write on turtle shells, animal bones, bronze objects and stones as early as the pre-Qin period. To preserve the full image of inscriptions, they invented the rubbing technique to reproduce the image of text and graphics on incised objects with the aid of paper, ink and rubbing tools. The end product is called a "tapian" (rubbing). Rubbing is a full-scale copy of the original which faithfully reproduces all its engraved graphics and text. Owing to their significant artistic and documentary value, rubbings have been highly regarded by scholars and collectors of many generations.

 
Chinese Opera from the National Library of China

Chinese Opera from the National Library of China

( Content available in Chinese only )

國家圖書館藏《慶賞昇平》爲清內府彩繪戲曲人物圖譜,多出于徽班劇目中的實際扮相。據其畫法、風格,應爲咸豐、同治間內務府造辦處所屬畫院處宮廷畫師作品。其中有《普天樂》二十三幅、《千秋嶺》六幅、《蔡天化》十二幅、《反西涼》十幅、《泗州城》十二幅、《太平橋》八幅、《空城計》十幅、《玉玲瓏》六幅、《落馬湖》十幅,共九種劇目九十七幅。劇目之下有小字"穿戴臉兒俱照此樣"墨字一行。京劇大師梅蘭芳與戲曲專家周贻白舊藏數幅,故宮博物院亦藏兩冊。據考,四處所藏均屬一整套戲中的人物圖譜。惟一區別是故宮所藏無"穿戴臉兒俱照此樣"小字。此行小字當是圖譜從清宮流散後,書賈爲牟取高價所加。

圖譜所繪穿戴與故宮所藏戲衣、頭盔等實物相符,人物神態,刻畫極爲精細,戲衣刺繡考究,繪制精工,當爲進獻清宮帝後御賞之物,是研究京劇早期行頭、臉譜的珍貴史料。