„Book Culture from China – Traces in Lepzig.“ The title of this catalogue is a bold promise. Viewing one of the world’s major cultures from the vantage point of a single city is clearly an audacious undertaking. But the traces are there, and Leipzig’s interest in China does indeed go back a long way. A look into the cultural archives in this city, famous as a hub of international trade and higher education, reveals many interesting examples of Chinese culture.
The largest collection of Chinese artifacts is held by Leipzig University Library, one of the oldest and largest libraries of its kind in Germany. Its Sinica collection comprises tens of thousands of books from and about China, the oldest of which date back to the sixteenth century. Manuscripts and printed works reveal much about Chinese calligraphy, typesetting, and literature, subjects in which scholars in Leipzig specialized very early on. Back in 1878, a professorship for Far Eastern Languages was set up at Leipzig University, which was held by Hans Georg Conon von der Gabelentz. His current successors, Philip Clart and Elisabeth Kaske, are responsible for the first part of this catalogue.
Yet this publication is not confined to an individual collection. Instead, it documents a joint project by Leipzig University Library with the German Museum of Books and Writing at the German National Library, the GRASSI Museum of Ethnography, Leipzig, and Leipzig Museum of the Printing Arts. All these institutions have contributed to the project’s success with their holdings, exhibitions as well as various other forms of support, generating visibility for China in Leipzig.
„Book Culture from China – Traces in Lepzig.“ The title of this catalogue is a bold promise. Viewing one of the world’s major cultures from the vantage point of a single city is clearly an