rare and old books in Virtual China
Title: The first locomotive that runs through the heart of Peking. A train station opens in Chienmên on November 1, 1901. From “Photographic Journal,” a collection of photographs taken in cities including Beijing and
Shanghai by Alfons von Mumm. Mumm left in Genova July 1900, and arrived
in Beijing in October of the same year.
One of the wonderful things about the digital world is that it makes faraway, obscure, and rare things accessible to a wider audience. The Asian Studies WWW Monitor recently logged the Digital Silk Roads Project (DSR), National Institute of Informatics (NII), The Toyo Bunko, Tokyo, Japan, and within it the Digital Archive of Toyo Bunko Rare Books. Self-description of the latter:
“The purpose of the project is to make ‘invisible’ books visible from everyone. Today surprisingly many books are invisible from the general public because accessibility to precious books is restricted due to their fragility and safety. To let them come out of the dark rooms of libraries, we establish the digital archive of precious books and improve accessibility to them on the Portal site.” The site contains page-by-page photos of 53 extraordinary books, such as
- 12 volumes of books and collections by Marc Aurel Stein, British archaeologist and linguist who made numerous Central Asian expeditions in the early 1900s. Example: The Thousand Buddhas, “A large color printed book of showing Buddhist paintings from the Mogao
Caves in Dunhuang. Stein collected these paintings during his second
expedition to Central Asia (1906-08). Includes L.Binyon’s essay
‘Dunhuang paintings and their place amongst Buddhist art’, together
with Stein’s descriptions of 48 Buddhist paintings”;
- From Kyakhta to the source of the Yellow River, a report by Russian zoologist and explorer Nikolai Mikhailovich Przhevalskii, who in the three years of 1870-1873 “crossed the Gobi Desert with only three subordinates, reached
Beijing, and went southwest from there to explore the Ordos, Alashan,
and upper reaches of the Yangtse River before entering Tibet and
arriving at the banks of the Dri Chu (Jinsha Jiang).”
- One volume of George Ernest Morrison‘s, Views of China, photographs of daily life in China taken in late 1800s, early 1900s. Morrison was an Australian journalist and Chinese Republican government advisor.
If you’re looking to buy old or rare Chinese books, bloggers MaryAnn O’Donnell and Frog in a Well (“collaborative weblogs dedicated to East Asian history”) point to Kongfuzi, a Chinese language site that identifies, evaluates and ranks old book sellers across China, provides links to online resources and merchants, provides an online auction platform, and much more.
2 comments on “rare and old books in Virtual China”
Extra! Extra! Lonely Planet, Li Na and WTC
We all know that you can’t buy Lonely Planet China in China, but now are they confiscating the books when people enter the Mainland? Ridiculous. (By the way, if anyone has one of the new books, can you tell us what they said about Shanghaiist? We have …
We have sold many old and rare books about China and all Asia
for some 34 years. Asian Rare Books relocated from New York City to Manila last year.
Pls also note our many links.