Pages through the Ages: A Selection of the Song and Yuan Rare Books of the Shanghai Museum

Date:2023-05-16 - 2023-08-13
Location:No.2 Exhibition Hall, 2F


With their remarkable spirituality and materiality, ancient books play a vitally important role in bearing the memories and wisdom of the Chinese nation. Indeed, they have helped to safeguard and extend the Chinese civilization, which boasts a unique length, breadth, and depth.

The Song and Yuan dynasties see a peak in the growth of Chinese culture, which entails a golden age of ancient books. In this period, papermaking technology matured, ink manufacturing entered a stage of transformation, and printing technology reached perfection. Books of the time were mainly made of paper, with various binding formats, including scroll binding, concertina binding, butterfly binding, and wrapped-back binding, and were handwritten, block-printed, or rubbed from steles. They show beauty in fonts, typography, and binding, and therefore are objects of desire for collectors of all time.

The Shanghai Museum is listed in the first batch both of the Nationally Key Institutions and of the Municipally Key Institutions for Safeguarding Ancient Books. We always attach great importance to the editing, research, preservation, and display of ancient books. To implement the governmental Opinions on Advancing the Work Concerning Ancient Books in the New Era and to respond to the concern of the public, 66 handwritten copies, block-printed copies, and rubbings of the Song and Yuan dynasties have been selected in this exhibition for our visitors.

The Lotus Sutra
A Catalogue of Plum Blossoms
The Karandamudra Dharani Sutra
Collected Works of Wang Anshi
The Diamond Sutra
The Preface to the Official Register of the Imperial Secretariat Recorded on the Stone Tablet
The Sutra Spoken by the Buddha on Maitreya's Descent and Attainment of Buddhahood The Sutra Spoken by the Buddha on the Time of Maitreya's Coming
Poems Composed in the Thatched Cottage by Du Fu
Collected Works of Zhang Yong
Collected Works of Ouyang Xiu of Luling
Collected Works of Xie Ke
The Book of Etiquette and Ceremonial Illustrated
A Biography of Yue Fei from A History of the Song Dynasty Poems of the Temple Dedicated to the Memory of Yue Fei by Famous People of Virtue
Classified Supplementary Annotations on the Poems of Li Bai
Works of Fan Zhongyan
Epitaphs of Xiao Fu and His Wife Consort Dowager Jing of the Liang Dynasty
An Inscription on the Sweet Spring in the Jiucheng Palace
The Preface to the Holy Teachings of Buddhism in Wang Xizhi's Calligraphic Characters Collated by Huairen
A Tablet in Commemoration of Jiang Xia
A Calligraphic Model-book of the Sequel to the Preface to the Poems Collected from the Orchid Pavilion
A Calligraphic Model-book from the Imperial Archives in the Chunhua Era
More Resources
【Brochure】 Pages through the Ages: A Selection of the Song and Yuan Rare Books of the Shanghai Museum
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