I applied to The National Library of China to visit the conservation department of the library. It took quite a while, over three months of requests and a week before I left I have given upon the idea of visiting. However 3 days before we left, I received an email from the International Laison Office, Miss Xi Tian, inviting me to visit.
I had a delightful time.
We commenced with a meeting of the head of the Department, and the chief binder, and the head of the Department Of the Oracle Bone collection, as I had expressed an interest in that particular exhibition, with Xi Tian being involved as translator.
Strangely in the conversation, being a collector and curator of my own collection of poultry literature, with just 4000+ items was an important discussion, and the fact that I am the custodian of collections from across the word in that very specialist area, was of interest, and resulted in many questions from them about it. It resulted in me starting to conserve and bind the books and so somehow I ended up here.
Now some of the techniques I saw were very new to me, but not to others at the meeting, I guess I am still very young in bookbinding, but I try hard not to show it. The slide show says most of it, great skill, preseverance, and also good international relationships of their staff with other conservation departments across the world, including with the National Library Canberra. The director and many of their staff had visited there as part of a relationship with them and some exhibitions of China’s hertage. I came away with lots buzzing in my mind, a bunch of new relationships, and lovely copy of the library’s summary of the exhibition of Oracle bones and the development of Chinese writing. I wish I could read more than just a few characters. Back to October Meeting