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China bestows 1st national award for book restoration

By Wang Kaihao | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-04-16 17:06

China's first national award for outstanding restoration of ancient books was bestowed on Friday in Beijing.

At the award ceremony in the National Library of China, five outstanding projects from the National Library of China, Tianjin Library and Shanghai Library claimed first prize, while 10 received second prize and 21 came in third.

In August 2019, the National Center for Preservation and Conservation of Ancient Books launched a nationwide competition on ancient book restoration skills. Nearly 100 restoration projects from 21 provincial-level administrative regions entered the competition, and the final result was decided by a 16-person judging panel, composed of the world's top-tier restorers.

China has an estimated 50 million ancient books, defined as those published before 1911, but restorers used to be a major bulwark to ensure their safety.

When the National Center for Preservation and Conservation of Ancient Book was established in 2007, there were less than 100 full-time restorers of ancient books in China. Nevertheless, thanks to endeavors to nurture expertise in this field in recent years, the situation has been largely improved.

According to Zhang Zhiqing, deputy director of the national center, there are nearly 1,000 restorers nationwide, thanks to 32 academies nurturing restoration techniques nationwide and thus breathing new life into the industry.

In 2008, restoration of ancient books was also inscribed as a national-level intangible cultural heritage.

The statistics of the National Center for Preservation and Conservation of Ancient Books showed that over 3.6 million pages of ancient books were repaired in the past decade.

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