Sunday, July 08, 2007

Land of Silk and Sages: An Exhibition of Early Printed Books on China
Marsh's Library, Dublin

This exhibition was opened in the library by the Chinese Ambassador, H.E. Mr Zhang Xinsen, on 17th May 2007, and will continue until Spring 2008. The books on display represent some of the earliest accounts of China by Western travellers. The exhibition begins with a magnificent atlas open at a map of the province of Peking (now Beijing). The cartouche shows the emperor and empress seated on either side with servants carrying parasols. Visitors can also see Marco Polo's observations on the geography, government and culture of China.

The famous Chinese sage and philosopher Confucius is regarded as the most important thinker in Chinese history and there is a case devoted to him and his famous maxims. There are books with illustrations of magnificent and spectacular Chinese processions. One procession shows the emperor and his retinue when he appears in public. He is accompanied by men playing twenty-four trumpets other men carrying lances, and four hundred great lanterns. Also included in this majestic procession are princes, foot soldiers, elephants, and chariots.

This exhibition contains accounts of the customs, houses, animals, flora and fauna of the China. There are sections on the Great Wall and on Chinese medicine and illustrations of the silkworm and the making of silk. Another case is devoted to the Jesuit Mission and the famous Rites Controversy.

More info here