Celebrating a bookish romance

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Part of the collection of books exhibited at the National Library of China. A comprehensive restoration project saving the delicate pages was launched in 2013, and the work was only completed at the end of last year. [Photo by Wang Kaihao/China Daily]

Among the exhibits of the ongoing event at the National Library of China, some are household names.

A rare Song Dynasty print edition of Zizhi Tongjian (Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Governance), a pioneering reference work in Chinese historiography, is a highlight of the exhibition. An edition of historical documentation, Book of Han, printed in 1305, was also resurrected from its damaged state. Some of the books were also consecutively owned by many renowned collectors and thus have great significance for academic studies.

Perhaps, through the exhibited tools and a view of the actual restoration studio displayed in the gallery, visitors can understand how these treasures were rescued.

Since 2019, echoing a proposal by the National Library of China, Qixi has become a regular occasion for libraries across China to resume the shaishu tradition, like in ancient times, and numerous ancient books that have been gathering dust in warehouses get a chance to be seen by the general public. About 200 libraries in the country have joined the program, and more than 300 relevant events, including exhibitions and lectures, have been organized.

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