Global experts gather in Guilin to discuss ancient texts

Updated: Nov 23, 2023 By YANG YANG China Daily Print
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The third International Forum on the Collection, Study, and Publication of Ancient Texts took place in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, at the end of October.

The forum was a collaborative effort by the Center for Ancient Chinese Classics and Archives of Peking University, the Guangxi Normal University Press Group, the School of Humanities of Wenzhou University, and the Center for the Compilation and Research of Ancient Texts at Guangxi Normal University.

More than 100 experts and scholars from libraries and universities around the world attended, including representatives from institutions such as the National Library of China, Shanghai Library, Nanjing Library, Ohio State University Library, Harvard-Yenching Library, the East Asian Library at the University of California in Los Angeles, Cambridge University Library, Peking University and Fudan University.

Huang Xuanzhuang, the Party secretary of Guangxi Normal University Press Group, said that publishing entities, research institutions and collection organizations need to deepen their cooperation.

Professor Liao Kebin, director of the Center for Ancient Chinese Classics and Archives at Peking University, explained that he views ancient text compilation as more than just a profession. He sees it as an industry and a cause that involves collectors, compilers, researchers and publishers, with the shared goal of using China's precious ancient texts, meticulously compiling them, and making them accessible to readers and society.

Throughout the forum, experts and scholars delivered keynote speeches on various topics, including the compilation and publication of ancient texts, the application of new technologies, and the investigation of ancient Chinese texts held abroad.

Chen Hongyan, director of the ancient books department at the National Library of China, talked about the importance of using technology to present ancient texts, and the need for interdisciplinary cooperation in their protection and accessibility.

Chen Chao, director of the Shanghai Library, discussed the modernization of libraries, including their role in preservation, in serving the needs of researchers and in transmitting cultural heritage.

Professor Zhang Guoxing from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences highlighted the role of publishers in national cultural development. He emphasized the appreciation of the aesthetic qualities of ancient texts and the exploration of Chinese aesthetics.

During the forum, Tang Wenhui, chief editor of the Guangxi Normal University Press Group, launched the Academic Resource Knowledge Service Platform for Rare Documents. The platform extends the work of the past three decades in publishing rare and distinctive documents. It focuses on five major areas, including rare documents collected by institutions or individuals from within China or overseas, ancient documents in ethnic languages and manuscripts from the pre-print era. The platform is designed to complement print publications and support academic research.

The forum was initiated by the Guangxi Normal University Press Group in Guilin in 2019 to encourage communication and collaboration among research institutions, collection organizations and publishers.


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