Wednesday, 16 September 2020

The Bus Trip 11: Tianyi Ge, Ningbo, China

 

 


Today we visit Ningbo, one of China’s oldest cities (circa 4800 BC), home to China’s oldest library (founded in 1561). The One Sky Pavilion, or Tianyi Ge Library, was constructed according to Taoist principles based on the Book of Changes, which is why in Chinese the name is also sometimes translated as The Universal Union Pavilion.

 

The Great Libraries of China - Part 1| LiYuan Library: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3falf8TJMFI

 

When we read the English Sinologist Arthur Waley, his account of ancient dynastic and province wars is that one of the first things they did was burn down the library of their enemy. This is why they are hard to find on Google. Tianyi Ge’s wiki, well worth reading, includes the following ‘fun fact’, “The walls were specially constructed to prevent fire.”

The Great Libraries of China - Part 2 | Mulan Weichang Library: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXFN10_tK68 

China is complex, with a book culture from very early. The Chinese invented paper. Dynastic, bureaucratic, scholarly, and private libraries are recorded throughout its history and literature. 

The Great Libraries of China - Part 3 | Seashore Library: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqzgoOng9xA 

Tianyi Ge held 70,000 books at its height. It was established by the Emperor. The collection became depleted over the centuries due to theft and neglect. The British helped themselves to many of the manuscripts. Restoration really coincided with the opening up of China in the nineties and the government’s policies of celebrating the country’s ancient heritage. 

The Great Libraries of China - Part 4 | Zhongshuge Bookshop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XY47Yjj4qU 

Throughout our visit to the oldest library in China, we have been visiting beautiful libraries of modern China. Each film is about five quality minutes long. It’s time to thank Leslie Montgomery who pieced together this wonderful alternative tour online. 

The Great Libraries of China - Part 5 | Tianjin Binhai Library: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI_rN2HTyRE    

Philip Harvey

Tour Guide

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