(Complete Survey of Medical Knowledge).
Beijing: Imperial Edition, 1743.
One of the largest in the world outside of China,
the Chinese collection of the Library of Congress began in 1869 when the Library
received ten works in 933 volumes from Emperor Tongzhi (1862-1874), part of an
exchange authorized by Congress. A Division of Chinese Literature was established
in 1928 with the approval of the Congress. Arthur W. Hummel, Sr., a renowned
Sinologist, was appointed as the first Chief of the Division. The collection
has since then grown to over 1,200,000 volumes. Along with Chinese language
materials, the Collection also houses several thousand volumes in Manchu,
Naxi and other minority languages.
The Collection covers all subject areas, with its strength in
the humanities and social sciences, among them classical Chinese
literature, archival materials of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
and the Republican period (1911-1949), and Chinese medicine. It
owns about 4,000 local and regional gazetteers from the Ming and
Qing dynasties, as well as those published since the 1980s, and
is especially strong on Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Sichuan provinces.
A unique Chinese rare book collection of more than 2,000 titles
includes a Buddhist sutra printed in 975 A.D., the oldest printed
specimen in the Library of Congress, and about 1,500 imprints of
the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The Collection also owns 41 of the
surviving volumes, the largest number outside of China, of Yongle
da dian [Great Encyclopedia of the Ming Emperor Yongle], the earliest
and largest encyclopedia in China. Chinese publications can also
be found in other Library collections, with Chinese law materials
in the Law Library and Chinese maps, including rare ones, as part
of Arthur W. Hummel collection in the Geography and Map Division
Since 2000, the Chinese Collection has focused on collecting from
Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and overseas areas, contemporary publications of the People’s
Republic of China. It has expanded its collection scope to encompass
all aspects of contemporary China, such as economy, business, finance,
law, science and technology, social studies, environment, Western
Region development, international relations, Communist Party history,
American studies in China, military affairs and national defense,
and minority affairs.
Today, LC’s contemporary China collection has been developed
to have unparalleled depth and breadth on all aspects of contemporary
China studies from areas that include Mainland China, Taiwan, and
major overseas areas. Major full-text electronic databases and resources are available to the patrons of the Asian Division Reading Room. Popular among the databases is China Academic Journal Database (CAJ) from China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), which has collected more than 10,000 China academic journals, and the full-text paper amount has reached to nearly 53 million. Another frequently used database is Duxiu, a comprehensive bibliographical index database covering over 3 million Chinese bibliographic entries and 2 million full text scholarly resources. Currently, the
and has gained in stature as a national asset for the United States
well as one of the principal contemporary China collections in
Further history of the collection can be traced in The Development
of the Chinese Collection in the Library of Congress, by Shuzhao
Hu (Boulder, Colo: Westview, 1979. xvi, 259 p.) and Library of
Congress Asian Collections: 2007 Illustrated Guide, (http://www.loc.gov/rr/asian/guide2007/).
The Library’s Naxi Collection
began in 1924, with the acquisition of 69 pictographic booklets
that Joseph Rock brought with him from China. At the time, this
was the largest amount of Naxi materials ever brought outside of
China. The collection continued to grow from 1924 to 1945 through
the acquisition of additional materials from Joseph Rock and other
collectors. It received 1,073 manuscripts in 1941, donated by Quentin
Roosevelt (1919-1948), grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt.
The Naxi Collection consists now of 3,342 or so manuscripts, both
originals and photostat copies of original manuscripts. These manuscripts,
written by Naxi Dongbas, shamanistic priests, document the unique
cosmology of the Naxi people, illustrate a range of Naxi myths
and legends including the story of the creation of the world, sacrifice
to the Serpent King and other principal gods, accounts of Naxi
warriors and other people of high social standing ascending to
the realm of deities, and love-suicide stories.
The Naxi (or Na-khi) people inhabit primarily the mountain valleys
at the foothills of the Himalayas. The Chinese government has officially
classified the neighboring Mosuo (Moso) people around the Lugu
Lake near Lijiang as part of the Naxi. The Naxi Kingdom traditionally
extended from northwestern Yunnan Province to southwestern Sichuan
Province. The Naxi and Moso are distinct not only in their matrilineal
kinship system, but also in their unique pictographic writing system.
The earliest efforts to translate these pictographic manuscripts
were made by Jacques Bacot (1877-1965), the French traveler and
author, in his work, Les Mo-so: ethnographie des Mo-so, leurs religion,
leur langue et leur écriture. (Leiden, 1913). Joseph Rock
was the first American who studied and interpreted Naxi writings.
His first article on the subject was published in National Geographic
magazine in 1924. During his 24 years in China Rock amassed a collection
of some 7,500 manuscripts, most of which were sold later to libraries
and collections in the West.
A digital database, entitled Selections from the Naxi Manuscript Collection
is available on the Library’s website. (http://international.loc.gov/intldl/naxihtml/naxihome.html)
Other Collections, Papers, and Presentations:
Other notable collections in the custody of the Chinese Collection