National archive sites launched to preserve ancient Chinese texts

After three years of construction, China inaugurated the National Publications and Culture Archive to preserve the country’s ancient texts and modern publications.

The head office in Beijing and three branches in Xi’an, Hangzhou and Guangzhou will now collaboratively preserve the country’s library resources.

Each location is divided into four areas – exhibition, preservation, tunnel storage and communication – to collect a variety of archives, including ancient books, bronze inscriptions, manuscripts and historical documents that record the history and the Chinese civilization.

Except for the collections, all venues will host exhibitions and hold research conferences and seminars to advance Chinese culture and boost cultural exchange.

“The national archives serve as a general database of national bibliological resources and a ‘seed gene bank’ of Chinese culture. They are cultural treasures that should be passed on to future generations,” said Bureau member Huang Kunming. Communist Party policy. of the China Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, said at the inauguration ceremony in Beijing on July 23.

The establishment of NAPC is one of the major cultural projects supported by the central government in China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25). All collections are kept separately in the four locations in case of unforeseen situations.

Ti Gong

A bird’s eye view of the Wenrun Pavilion in Hangzhou. The National Publications and Culture Archive, headquartered in Beijing and with three branches in Hangzhou, Xi’an and Guangzhou, is responsible for preserving the country’s library resources.

The Hangzhou sub-location is called the Wenrun Pavilion (文润阁), which literally means “culturally nurturing” in Chinese. It was designed by Wang Shu, the first Chinese winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2012 and also Dean of the School of Architecture at the China Academy of Art.

Wang has been exploring Song Dynasty (960-1279) architecture for many years. Although few mansions and gardens from this period have survived through the dynasties, he was inspired by ancient paintings to design the place with Hangzhou elements.

Hangzhou had been the center of book publishing in the Song Dynasty when the city served as the national capital. His books found favor with scholars due to the quality and elaborate production techniques.

At the end of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), the city became a Mecca for bibliophiles. Libraries and private places were installed throughout the city and a myriad of ancient archives were protected.

Although most of them were destroyed in the ensuing periods of social unrest, a few survived and became tangible proof of past glory.

National archive sites launched to preserve ancient Chinese texts

Ti Gong

The Wenrun Pavilion is designed to showcase elements of Hangzhou.

“Today, the city still holds hundreds of thousands of wooden blocks, ranging from the Song Dynasty to the Republic of China (1912-1949). Professionals continue to comb through the wooden blocks, which would be a major feature of our site,” said Wu Xueyong, director of the Wenrun Pavilion Organizing Team.

The newly built Wenrun Pavilion has an exhibition area of ​​7,000 square meters and a preservation area of ​​50,000 square meters.

It is by far the most modern venue in Zhejiang Province as it uses temperature and humidity controls to maintain the quality of the documents in the collection.

In recent years, the Zhejiang government has made great efforts to protect ancient records.

“The Great Series of Chinese Paintings Through the Ages”, compiled and published by Zhejiang University and the Zhejiang Cultural Heritage Bureau, is a large-scale national project covering different dynasties and countries.

Since its launch in 2005, nearly 12,500 ancient Chinese paintings have been featured in the book series.

Today it is dubbed “the most comprehensive collection of Chinese paintings” with the most authentic image registration and finest print quality – one of the best of its kind in the world.

“The Great Series of Chinese Paintings Through the Ages” is now collected in the Wenrun Pavilion.