CUHK holds ‘From the Treasure House: Jewels from the Library of The Chinese University of Hong Kong’ Exhibition to Celebrate its 50th Anniversary
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and to showcase the collections of rare books in the University libraries, the University Library System and the University’s Art Museum are mounting a joint exhibition titled ‘From the Treasure House: Jewels from the Library of The Chinese University of Hong Kong’ to enable the public to have a glimpse of the wide range of valuable publications, manuscripts and artworks in the University’s holdings. The provenance of the 120 selected exhibits stretches over 3,500 years: there were oracle bones of the Shang dynasty, as well as manuscripts of contemporary writers. The opening ceremony was held today (9 Jan) at the Art Museum. Prof. Joseph Sung, CUHK Vice-Chancellor and Ms. Louise Jones, University Librarian, officiated at the ceremony.
Professor Sung remarked at the ceremony, ‘The Mission of the CUHK is “to assist in the preservation, creation, application and dissemination of knowledge”, “to promote Chinese culture” as it is an institution “dedicated to the study of Chinese culture, and its preservation and modernization”. In addition to face-to-face oral transmission between teachers and students, the preservation of knowledge and culture, to a large extent, also relies on books and other media. The University Library carries forward the Mission of the University by preserving all the valuable materials. Taking full advantage of information technology, the most precious documents have been digitized and they are shared among scholars, helping to promote academic research and dissemination.’
The exhibition showcases 56 pieces rare oracle bones of the Shang dynasty (ca.1675-1029BC), which form the largest collection of its kind in Hong Kong.
Shuying (‘Literary Sketches in Memories’) is also on display. This is the original handwritten copy from the Wenlange edition of Siku Quanshu (‘Complete Library of the Four Treasures’). The author, Zhou Lianggong (1612-1672), wrote something ‘alien’ to the court in another work and all his works were ordered to be taken out from Siku Quanshu and be destroyed. It is unknown why Shuying survives the order. Wenlange was damaged when the Taiping army invaded Hangzhou in 1861 and many books were lost and destroyed. It is almost a myth that Shuying experienced all these mishaps and finally settled down at CUHK Library.
The Library rare book collection dating, which comprises works published from the 13th to early 20th centuries, reviews the history of Chinese book printing, from monochrome woodblock printing, gradually to multi-colour printing, with the use of moveable types and later modern technology printing. The woodblock printing and editing of Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) has been highly regarded by scholars and connoisseurs, and the Yi benyi fulu zuanshu (‘Original Meaning of the Book of Changes with Commentaries’) in the University Library collection reflects such excellence. It is known that the form, content and printing technology of some East Asian countries were influenced by Chinese printing. The Tripiṭaka Koreana printed from woodblocks of the 13th century is the earliest complete Korean edition of the Chinese Buddhist canon, Da zang jing, in existence.
Among many Chinese titles of the pre-20th century, the Aurelii Cornelii Celsi medicinae liber, primus incipit published in 1493 is the oldest western publication on show.
In the past five decades, it is the generosity of many donors and the foresight of the University Libraries’ predecessors that have contributed to the gradual growth of this most valuable collection. The exhibition comprises manuscripts, letters, calligraphy and painting by well-known literati, scholars and artists from the 19th to 20th centuries, including Zhu Ciqi (1807-1881), Jian Chaoliang (1851-1933), Chen Botao (1855-1930), Kang Youwei (1858-1927), Ma Kiam (1882-1959), Zhou Zuoren (1885-1967), Chao Yuenren (1892-1982), Qian Mu (1895-1990), Zhu Guangqian (1897-1986), Qian Zhongshu (1910-1998) and so on. Among them there is a rich collection of Guangdong and Hong Kong archives. The exhibition serves as a time tunnel which gives insight of how wisdom and knowledge has been accumulated and transferred with the devotion of successive generations throughout our history.
Through the ‘From the Treasure House: Jewels from the Library of The Chinese University of Hong Kong’ exhibition, the University Library System hopes that our generation continues to commit itself to the preservation of the rare and precious heritage items for their aesthetic and scholarly value. Public is welcome. Free admission. Details of the exhibition are as below:
Exhibition Period: 10.1.2013 – 19.5.2013
(closed on public holidays)
Exhibition Venue: Gallery I, Art Museum, CUHK, Shatin
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.
Enquiries: 3943 7416