Ancient books unveil chapters of history

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2020-11-17 08:31
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Avatamsaka Sutra, a Northen Song Dynasty Buddhist manuscript, housed in Hubei Provincial Library. [Photo provided to China Daily]

They may be flimsy, they are certainly not solid or weighty. But they are treasures nonetheless and these books showcase the uninterrupted lineage of Chinese civilization.

Earlier this month, the State Council, China's Cabinet, released the sixth list for the national directory of precious ancient books, including 752 new entries of major historical significance.

Applications for recognized status to be inscribed in the list began in 2018, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism organized 86 top-tier experts, working all over the country to evaluate the 3,981 candidate books through rounds of appraisal, starting from early 2019 to September, according to Chen Binbin, an inspector from the ministry.

A rigid academic attitude was maintained during the process.

"The panel had a close-up inspection on the candidates one by one," Chen says at a news conference in Beijing, hosted by the ministry, on Friday. "If there was a dispute among experts on a specific edition or understanding of contents, we would halt inscribing it onto the list.

"We would rather leave an empty position there than make a mistake," he says.

Indisputably, the finally inscribed works are outstanding examples.

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