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Preserving the pages of history

Updated: 2022-01-14 08:53 ( China Daily )
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A newly restored Ming Dynasty book, from the Tianlu Linlang collection, upon which blemishes caused by bookworms are recognizable. WANG KAIHAO/CHINA DAILY

For eight years, Cui Zhibin concentrated on these ancient pages. She had been looking for every possible way to prolong their lives, once fragile and even on the verge of being, literally, torn apart by time.

As a restorer of ancient books at the National Library of China in Beijing, the 35-year-old gets emotional when recalling the almost 3,000 days she spent fixing Tianlu Linlang, a precious literary collection, including 600-odd volumes of ancient books, which were once in the former inventory of a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) royal study.

"This project will remain an important part of my career," Cui says. "It will always be a key component of my life, too."

Thanks to the efforts of Cui and her colleagues, on Jan 7, it was announced that the restoration of Tianlu Linlang was completed in the end of 2021-news that was widely hailed in the industry of ancient Chinese book restoration as a milestone.

"The most challenging part was that we had to draft a tailored plan for each copy, considering that their sizes, colors and materials vary greatly and their ages span centuries," Cui recalls.

Compared with more renowned tomes in China, such as the Dunhuang manuscripts dating to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), which were found in one of the Mogao Caves in Gansu province, and Yongle Dadian from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the world's largest paper-based encyclopedia, Tianlu Linlang is not among the best-known ancient books that were restored by the national library in recent years.

Nevertheless, Zhu Zhenbin, who has worked at the National Library of China for over 40 years as the leading restorer of Tianlu Linlang, agrees the newly finished project was a greater challenge.

"Most ancient tomes, like the Dunhuang manuscripts and Yongle Dadian, were written within the same period of history, sharing similar format and paper," Zhu explains. "Once you make a restoration plan, it can work for every volume."

But due to the ambitious book collection plan of a Qing Dynasty emperor, the situation of Tianlu Linlang got complicated.

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The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]

The 2022 China International Travel Mart was launched in Kunming, Yunnan province today. The three-day event opened at the Kunming Dianchi Lake International Convention and Exhibition Centre, with a theme focusing on smart innovation and high-quality tourism industry aspects.

The news conference was held in the city on Thursday. Zhang Xilong, first class inspector of the Bureau of the International Communication and Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China and Lou Kewei, deputy-director of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Yunnan province presented the meeting along with academy and entrepreneur representatives.

The conference introduced the preparations and relevant activities of the mart, such as a forum on smart tourism and innovation, a symposium on international travel communication and cooperation in the framework of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and a workshop on the China-Laos railway’s contribution to building an Asian community with a shared future.

According to the news meeting, the 2022 travel mart covers about 80,000 square meters, with about 4,200 standard booths. 71 countries and regions attended the event both online and offline, and 31 domestic provinces, cities and autonomous regions and 261 independent exhibition teams.

Online services will be provided to the overseas buyers and sellers in the light of time zones. They could also have a face-to-face negotiation at the mart as well.

The mart also has diverse displays to show culture and tourism, physical education and tourism, as well as overseas tourism and museums.

The National Cultural Heritage Administration, the Palace Museum and museums from other provinces will attend the travel mart.

At the event, Yunnan province will have 2,000 standard booths in four separate sections; each will show culture tourism, healthy lifestyles, physical education tourism and culture tourism consumption.

The travel mart will also stick to the rules of pandemic prevention and control while having the activities go on smoothly.

The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]
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