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Rare Confucian books find home
Latest Updated by 2006-12-11 10:26:37
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The bibliotheca of the Shanghai Confucian Temple, also the city's first public library, will reopen next Thursday after being restored to its original appearance.


Officials of the temple management department said it has spent six months and about 2.5 million yuan (312,500 U.S. dollars) collecting 5,700 volumes of ancient books of Confucian classics.


The Shanghai Library has lent nearly 1,000 ancient books to the temple.


The most valuable books in the collection are a six-volume set from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).


The set, the collected works of Zhu Xi, a great Confucian in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), is valued at 300,000 yuan.


"Most of the collection is editions from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and the Republic of China and some are editions from Japan. We want to turn the temple into a cultural site," said Wang Aizhen, director of the management department. "We will also add modern works about Confucianism study and donations are welcome."


The collection will be displayed in the Zunjing Pavilion, the bibliotheca indispensable to a Confucian Temple. It used to collect ancient classics, books organized to be edited by the royal courts and historical records. Zunjing means respect for classics.


The Confucian Temple, begun in the Yuan Dynasty, is the only ancient architectural complex combining temple and school in the downtown city to worship Confucius, China's great thinker and founder of the Confucian culture.


The two-story pavilion was first built in 1484 and destroyed in a war in 1853. In 1931, a library was built on the site and opened the next year as the city's first public library.


The collection in the library was destroyed in the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and the pavilion was used as a change room. The building was restored in 1998 and had been used to display some stone carvings.


"We think we should add a more cultural atmosphere to the temple in addition to restoring the building," Wang said.


Editor: Wing

By: Source: Shanghai Daily web edition
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