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Celebrating a bookish romance

Updated: 2022-08-08 08:26 ( China Daily )
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A guide at the National Library of China introduces the restoration process for copies of Tianlu Linlang, a royal book collection of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), at an ongoing exhibition in Beijing. [PHOTO BY JIANG DONG/CHINA DAILY]

Restorers save ancient works as they usher in a new chapter of appreciation, Wang Kaihao reports.

The seventh day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar, known as Qixi in China, is widely seen as the Chinese counterpart of Valentine's Day. But ancient Chinese literati had their own romantic story, literally. On this day, they would display their book collections and bathe them in sunshine.

Scientifically, this method known as shaishu ("to dry the book under the sun") would help prevent moisture and bugs and better protect the pages, but it was also seen as a ritual to show off the literati's taste and knowledge in a tangible way.

On this year's Qixi Day, which fell on Thursday, a special shaishu event opened at the National Library of China. Though the books were showcased under artificial light instead of the sun, the first public appearance of these precious books might demonstrate not only an individual literati's taste, but a country's determination to prolong cultural lineage.

The exhibition displays 85 restored copies of Tianlu Linlang, a former royal book collection of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Many of these precious editions were once in a terrible state of disrepair. However, thanks to the eight-year effort of a team of restorers, their glamour has returned.

"Through the exhibition, we'd like visitors to not only see the important ancient books, but also understand the techniques used to fix them," Zhu Zhenbin, a leading restorer of Tianlu Linlang, says.

Tianlu was the name of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) royal library-considered the earliest national library-and linlang is a term often used to refer to "precious books" in traditional Chinese culture.

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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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