Rubbings and Rare Books from CUHK Art Museum and CUHK Library Selected for the National Catalogue of Precious Ancient Books
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China announced the sixth batch of “National Catalogue of Precious Ancient Books” on 13 November. Twelve sets of ancient rubbings from the collection of the Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and fifteen rare books from the collection of the CUHK Library were on the list.
This catalogue was proposed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and approved by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. With a strict selection criteria imposed, listed materials are of historical, ideological and cultural significance, or rare books written in the languages of ethnic minorities. They should be written or printed before 1912, compiled or bound in the traditional manner. Since 2008, a total of 13,026 pieces have been listed nationally. Together with the fifth batch, a total of twenty rubbings from the Art Museum were selected. In conjunction with the fifteen rare books selected from the CUHK Library in the current batch, CUHK houses in total thirty five items and is the only Hong Kong institution which has been included.
Established in 1971, the Art Museum aims to promote Chinese culture and utilises its collection to enhance research, academic exchanges and education. It now comprises over fifteen thousand works of art and all the listed rubbings were donated by Dr. J. S. Lee, the founding Chairman of the Management Committee of the Art Museum and Bei Shan Tang.
The CUHK Library has developed a distinguished Chinese ancient book collection in the past five decades. The rare book collection consists of over 1,100 titles in more than 16,000 volumes of Chinese classical titles in traditional stitched binding. The collection’s scope ranges from the Yuan Dynasty to the end of the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty. The fifteen selected Chinese books for the National Catalogue are rare and unique editions, including six titles donated by the Bei Shan Tang Foundation in 2008. The editions are comprehensive, including woodblock printing, multi-colour printing, manuscripts and handwritten copies. To share these national treasures with the public, as well as for the dissemination of knowledge and the preservation of cultural heritage, all these books were digitised and are available for open access in the CUHK Digital Repository.