Two Sessions | Librarian Innovates to Spread Chinese Culture

ByXie Lin March 10, 2024


Traditional Chinese culture has integrated with modern life in recent years. At the same time, it has displayed its unique charm to the world.

Chen Hongyan, a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), is head of the Ancient Books Library, under the National Library of China (NLC). On the sidelines of the annual CPPCC session, she shared with Women of China her thoughts and suggestions about how to promote both the creative transformation and innovative development of fine traditional Chinese culture.

For most readers, ancient books are hard to understand. For that reason, Chen believes it is important to use various creative ways of communication to attract readers. Chen and her colleagues have transformed ancient books into interesting exhibitions, publications and audiovisual works. For example, they have organized exhibitions and produced audio programs based on the Yongle Encyclopedia (compiled during the Ming Dynasty [1368–1644]). They have also cooperated with a publisher to translate a book that records plants, which are both food and medicines, into understandable words. 


Such creative approaches have attracted both Chinese and foreign readers, especially young readers. An online exhibition of oracle bone inscriptions, or Jiaguwen (China's earliest written records), is available on NLC's website. Some literature and various online games, containing Jiaguwen elements, have attracted more than 200 million views. 

The NLC and China Coal Mine Art Troupe have produced some performances based on melodies recorded in ancient books. The performances, including The Classic of Poetry (or Shijing), Song of Mulan and Manjianghong, sparked a sensation when shown in China. The performances were warmly received last year in Russia.

"Fine traditional culture nurtures our minds and beautifies our lives. We should promote exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations, and we should keep enhancing the influence of Chinese culture," says Chen.

During this year's CPPCC session, she proposed broadening communication channels involving traditional culture, with the help of information technology. Chen also highlighted the importance of improving the interactive and immersive experiences of audiences.


Photos from Interviewee

(Source: Women of China)


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