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Collection Chinese Rare Book Digital Collection

Highlights

Yu zhi bi shu shan zhuang san shi liu jing shi (御製避暑山莊三十六景詩 Emperor Kangxi's Poems on Thirty-Six Scenic Spots of Bi Shu Shan Zhuang, the Imperial Summer Resort)

Bi shu shan zhuang 避暑山莊is China’s largest imperial palace garden. Situated in present-day Chengde, Hebei province(河北省,承德市) in a river valley bordered by mountains on the west, north, and east, the villa consists of palace halls, lakes, plains, and mountains. Construction of the complex spanned many years, beginning in 1703 under Emperor Kangxi (康熙皇帝,1654-1722). On the occasion of the completion of the main palace complex in 1711, Kangxi bestowed the title of Bi shu shan zhuang (Summer Mountain Villa) on the villa and selected 36 scenic spots and composed a poem for each spot. This work contains the emperor’s poems, with exquisite illustrations and was issued in the 51st year of Kangxi’s reign in 1712. In 1994, the Summer Mountain Villa was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Huang ming jiu bian kao(皇明九邊考 Survey of the Nine Borders of the Ming Dynasty)

The Mongols’ rule in China ended in 1368, the Chinese, however, remained vigilant about the Mongols’ threat on the northern frontiers. The Emperor Yongle reign(永樂皇帝, 1403-1424) then started establishing northern border outposts. In the period of Emperor Jiajing reign(嘉靖皇帝, 1522-66), there were nine border outposts at Liaodong (遼東), Jizhou(薊州), Xuanfu(宣府), Datong(大同), Shanxi(山西), Yulin(榆林), Ningxia(寧夏), Guyuan(固元), and Gansu甘肅 in present-day Shanxi, Gansu, and Ningxia Provinces. Wei Huan(魏煥) the author of this work, first gives an overview of the “nine borders,” with ten maps, followed by descriptions of each of the nine locations. The significance of this work is the combination of text with maps. It was published in the period of 1541-1542 in Ming Dynasty.

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Huang he fa yuan ru hai tu (黃河發源入海圖The complete painting of Yellow River Valley, from the place of origin to estuary)

This work records events related to the Yellow River Valley from 1544 to 1855; bound as a long scroll painting with twenty-six plates, and annotations related to the size of dams and the number of fortresses and troops attached to it. It is a colored hand drawn painting from the Qing period (1636-1912).The painter and create date is unknown.

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Shi shi yuan liu ying hua shi ji (釋氏源流應化事蹟Life and Activities of Shakyamuni Buddha Incarnate)

This magnificent work contains four albums of exquisite paintings, 100 in each, depict the life of Gautama Budda through the period of Enlightenment. The colors used in the illustrations are so vivid that they are reminiscent of Tibetan Tonka Art. This work was issued under the auspices of Ming Emperor Chenghua (成化皇帝, 1465-1487) in 1486. It was formerly deposited in the Monastery Tian-ning in the east suburb of Fenzhou, Shanxi province (陝西省, 汾州市), where Miss McClure, an American catholic nun, obtained it during her residency as part of the Congregational Church mission. She bequeathed it to the Library of Congress in her Last Will and Testament dated July 1943. The painter and create date is unknown.

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Mu shi zong pu (木氏宗譜Biographical Records of the Royal Mu Family)

This work is a faithful copy, by a painter of the Mu clan commissioned by Joseph Rock (1884-1962), an Austrian-American explorer, and self-taught botanist who spent 24 years in the Yunnan Province (雲南省) in Southern China in the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s, studying the culture and writings of the Naxi and collecting manuscripts, to reproduce ancestral portraits that had been handed down through the ages. The body of the work records the Mu family, a politically powerful clan in Lijiang area (漓江) in Yunnan province in Qing period (1636-1912), from the 1st through the 33rd generations.

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Taiwan fan she feng su (臺灣番社風俗)

This album of twelve paintings is a record of the land and people of the island of Taiwan more than a hundred years ago. They show people farming, hunting, and going about their everyday lives and are thus an important resource for the study of the history of Taiwan. The album contains a preface in English by Arthur William Hummel (1884-1975), an American missionary to China and Sinologist who from 1928 to 1954 was the first head of the Oriental Division (predecessor to the Asian Division) at the Library of Congress. The painter and create date is unknown.

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Qi sheng yan hai quan tu (七省沿海全圖 Complete maps of the seven coastal provinces)

This coastal map is one of several maps in the Asian Division’s Chinese rare book collection. The preface to this work indicates that it was printed by Shao Tinglie, who acquired original paintings by Zhou Beitang in 1842. In the next year Shao had Zhou’s hand-painted maps carved on woodblocks and printed with two other maps, one depicting the port of Wusong and the other portraying areas east of the Yangtze River. The maps are printed in blue and include annotations in red. These maps depict the coastal provinces of Fengtian, Zhili, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong, and areas near the port of Wusong and east Yangtze River. They also indicate important naval posts and include notes on river and coastal defense, therefore highlighting important military information for fending off attacks from pirates and foreign ships. The Library’s copy was formerly in the collection of Huang Pengnian (1823–1891), a painter who also worked in the Qing government. Huang carefully compared this map with others and added his explanatory notes in red and black ink between 1857 and 1871. Huang’s postscripts detail the meticulous study he had done with this map collection.

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Ke meng gu yang Miao tu (克孟牯羊苗圖 The paintings of ethnic minority in China)

This work has forty-eight watercolor paintings of Miao people, the ethnic minority in China. On each plate, a painting appears on the right, and a related essay on the left. It is a collection of colored hand drawn paintings from the Qing period (1636-1912).The create date and painter is unknown.

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