China is proud of its record of publishing and printing as well as its archives and libraries that can be traced back more than 2000 years. This table is prepared for the class History of Libraries being taught by Prof. Miriam Kahn in Summer, 2008. It is for reference of the students only.
References and sources:
Libraries and Librarianship in China . By Sharon Chien Lin. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998. .Pp. xxii+241. $74.00 (cloth). ISBN 0-313-28937-9
Preserving the past, preparing for the future: Modern Chinese libraries and librarianship, 1898–2000s, by
|Three Sovereign Ones and the Five Emperors||三皇五帝||before 2070 BC||628+|
|Xià Dynasty||夏||2100 BC - 1600 BC||470|
|Shang Dynasty||商||evidence of a royal library (the media at that time are oracle bones & shells) (1041 BC)||1600 BC - 1046 BC||554|
|Western Zhou Dynasty||西周||1046 BC - 771 BC||275|
|Eastern Zhou Dynasty
Traditionally divided into
|Lao tze 老子
-- custodian of the Heavenly Archives
|770 BC - 256 BC
722 BC - 476 BC
475 BC - 221 BC
|秦||"Burning of books and burying of scholars" by the first emperor Qin, 213 B.C.||221 BC - 206 BC||15|
|Western Han Dynasty||西漢||started a systematic recovery of works
first centralized imperial library
|Liu Xiang 刘向 (80-8 B.C.) compiled bibliography Bielu 别录(Separated Records);
His son Liu Xin 刘歆 continued the work and produced a classified catalog, Qilue 七略(Seven Epitomes) (for 603 titles and 13,219 scrolls).
|206 BC - 9 AD||215|
|Eastern Han Dynasty||東漢||25 - 220||195|
|Three Kingdoms||三國||220 - 265||45|
|Western Jin Dynasty||西晉||265 - 317||52|
|Eastern Jin Dynasty||東晉||317 - 420||103|
|Southern and Northern Dynasties||南北朝||420 - 589||169|
|Sui Dynasty||隋||300,000 volumes in the imperial library||581 - 618||37|
|Tang Dynasty||唐||block printing (10th C.)
books began to
|618 - 907||289|
|Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms||五代十國||many books were destroyed during the wars
collection reduced to 13,900 vols.
|907 - 960||53|
|Northern Song Dynasty||北宋||built of 3 libraries and recollected books; vols. were doubled.
Chong-wen-yuan (Hall of Promotion of Literature) 崇文院
imperial collection scattered after the invasion of Nu-Zhens (女真族)
library at the imperial academy was open to students
|Chong-wen Zong Mu (Chong-wen Annotated Bibliography)
3445 titles, 30669 vols.
|960 - 1127||167|
|Southern Song Dynasty||南宋||started collecting again
built a library in South China
reached 44,486 vols (as recorded in a catalog) + 14843 additional volumes
|1127 - 1279||152|
|Liao Dynasty||遼||916 - 1125||209|
|Jin Dynasty||金||1115 - 1234||119|
|Yuan Dynasty||元||shipped books back to Beijing||1271 - 1368||97|
|Ming Dynasty||明||2000+ scholars to compile a compendium of quotations from books that existed during the Yong-le period (1403-1425); recording 11,919 volumes.
Collection containing 43,200 volumes, 3/10 of which were printed; + thousands of volumes of the annuals and chronicles of Ming emperors compiled by the imperial historiographers
|Yong-le Encyclopedia 永乐大典 (1407 completed)||1368 - 1644||276|
|Qing Dynasty||清||Emperor Qianlong ordered to build a national library, holding a copy of every standard work in existence
Started collecting very rare and out-of-print materials listed in the Yongle Encyclopedia
Compiled 四库全书, the Complete Collection of the Four Branches of Literature: 3500 titles in 36000 handwritten volumes. Hosted at the Imperial Palace Library, Wen-yuan-ge 文淵閣.
The imperial libraries were open to the scholars.
Libraries of academies (书院), were accessible by scholars
Private libraries, monastery libraries were open to students under certain conditions
|Complete books of the four [imperial] repositories （四库全书 = Siku Quanshu）
Classification containing 4 major categories and 44 classes
1783: Six duplicates of Siku Quanshu were ordered to be made, then hosted at 7 imperial libraries, 4 of which survived to the present.
Now only 1/4 (near 800 volumes) exist, distributed at various countries
|1644 - 1912||267|
|1902: proposal of building public libraries and museums
1905-1911 new school system
1905: first public library in Hunan province; followed by 15 in other provinces
1909: first metropolitan (city) library
1910: first library law
|1899: Mary Elizabeth Wood came to China as an English teacher at Boone Middle School in Wuhan|
|Republic of China||民国||1913：regulations for libraries
Capital Popular Library 通俗图书馆+ many
(popular libraries = general public;
regular public libraries = academic materials)
1925: National Libraries Association (after local associations were established)
total 2818 libraries in 1935
|1910: Wood founded the first school library and opened to the public；
Boone Library, open to the greater Wuhan, also branches in the form of public reading rooms and traveling libraries
1920: Boone Library School 文华图专
|People's Republic of China||中华人民共和国||public libraries;
special libraries under Chinese Academy of Sciences;
|1953: Boone Library School became the Department of Library Science in Wuhan University||1949|
"Established in the 2nd century BCE, Dunhuang is an oasis town located near the historic junction of the northern and southern routes of the Silk Road, which served as the primary avenue for trade and cultural exchange between China and countries to the west. Dunhuang was also a center for Buddhism, and for a thousand years beginning in the 4th century CE, Buddhist monks carved an extensive series of grotto shrines in the surrounding area.
"Today, more than 490 caves have been preserved, containing 45,000 square meters of wall paintings and over 2000 sculptures. The monks also collected and copied Buddhists texts and scriptures, which were stored, along with ceremonial paintings and ritual objects, in a secret "library cave" discovered in 1900. " -- The Mellon International Dunhuang Archive
1. The Mellon International Dunhuang Archive (MIDA)
High-quality digital reconstructions of the mural paintings and related art and texts associated with the several hundred Buddhist cave shrines in Dunhuang, China, a uniquely important cultural crossroads on the ancient Silk Route in the Gobi Desert.
2. International Dunhuang Project (IDP)
Tens of thousands of images along with catalogues, translations, historical photographs, archaeological site plans and much more are already freely available to all on the IDP DATABASE. This multilingual website and database is hosted by IDP's members in Britain, China, Russia, Japan and Germany.
3. My visit to the project production site (slideshow)
4. Additonal background information
New York Times July 6th 2008 article: Buddha’s Caves by By Holland Cotter
The Art of War 孫子兵法 in a "classical" bamboo book, 6th century BC by Sun Tzu.
Chinese dictionary 说文解字 ("Explaining Simple and Analyzing Compound Characters"), 2nd century CE, from the Han Dynasty.
Marcia Zeng copyright 2008