Shanxi steps up preservation of ancient texts


Updated: 2023-08-28

Work to preserve ancient texts in Shanxi province has achieved fruitful results in recent years, with continuous efforts made in terms of their comprehensive registration, hierarchical protection, book restoration, and cultivation of related talents. 

Over the past 16 years, the Shanxi Ancient Book Preservation Center has provided direct guidance and assistance for more than 40 counties, county-level cities, and districts in the province to comprehensively register these prized works. 

The hierarchical protection of ancient books has also been gradually improved. 

Since 2007, 280 ancient books in the province have been selected to join the "National Catalog of Precious Ancient Books," and 562 ancient books have been chosen for the "Shanxi Catalog of Precious Ancient Books." 

Six institutions that collect such texts have been designated as key protection institutions for ancient books at the national level, and 14 at the provincial level. 

The ability to restore old books has also been significantly enhanced. In 2009, Shanxi Library was designated as a national-level center for ancient book restoration. It has completed 21 restoration projects for nationally precious ancient books in Shanxi province.

In September 2021, the center obtained the qualification for movable cultural relics restoration. In October, the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation and the ByteDance Ancient Book Protection Special Fund supported an ancient book restoration project declared by Shanxi Library, marking the first participation of social forces in the preservation of ancient books in the province. 

Later in November, the library launched a database of digital resources of ancient books, supporting their online retrieval, full-text reading, and downloading.   

In 2022, the Shanxi Department of Culture and Tourism applied to the provincial government for a grant of 2.68 million yuan ($367,891.21) for the protection of valuable ancient books by means of replication. The department also allocated 1 million yuan specifically for the preservation of ancient books.

The team of talents dedicated to preserving ancient books has also been growing. In 2021, a training session on ancient book conservation was held in Shanxi, with more than 90 people engaged in the preservation, inheritance, and utilization of ancient books attending.

In addition, the annual training of volunteers that teaches college students how to conduct effective surveys of ancient texts has been cultivating more future talents in this field.