The article A Scholar Diplomat’s Legacy: William Woodville Rockhill and His Chinese Language Books at the Freer Gallery of Art Library, by Lily Kecskes, former Head Librarian of the Freer-Sackler Library, and published in the Journal of East Asian Libraries, number 146 (October 2008), describes an important donation in the history of the Freer-Sackler Library. The article details a 1927 gift of precious and rare Chinese language books to the Smithsonian Institution made by Mrs. Rockhill, widow of the scholar-diplomat William Woodville Rockhill. It notes that the donated books “ranged, in date of publication from 1659 to 1913 and covered a wide range of subjects, including religion, history, geography, literature, and culture of Central Asia, Tibet, and Mongolia.”
Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads has been a popular attraction at the Hirshhorn since its arrival in April. Surrounding the fountain in the center of the Hirshhorn, the zodiac heads have an interactive appeal as viewers pose for pictures in front of their zodiac animal. Much like Western astrological signs, the Chinese zodiac signs also have specific characteristics and traits assigned to them – both good and bad. A person’s zodiac symbol was (and is) culturally significant in many parts of Asia, where a person’s zodiac sign is sometimes seriously considered when entering a relationship.
This cultural significance is something that Ai Weiwei likes to utilize in many of his works to communicate his messages, often indicated by referencing objects that are almost synonymous with Chinese traditions and values.
The Chinese sage Confucius (551-478 B.C.E.) greatly esteemed the founders of the Zhou Dynasty, who lived five hundred years before. This is reflected in several of his sayings, including, “How weak I have become. For a long time I have not dreamed about the Duke of Zhou.”
The Livingston Seed Company, Livingston's Seeds 1899 Annual, 1899, Back Cover. From the Libraries; digital collection, Seed Catalogs. October is National Popcorn Popping Month. Popcorn was first discovered thousands of more »
The author Jin Yong is beloved and famed in the Chinese speaking world for his popular martial arts novels, perhaps as famous there as J.R.R. Tolkien is in the English-speaking more »
Masterpieces of the Centennial International Exhibition illustrated . . . Earl Shinn, Walter Smith and Joseph M. Wilson. Imprint: Philadelphia: Gebbie & Barrie, [1876-1878], p. cxlvi (vol. 3) ("Main Building more »
Believe it or not, clocks played a very important role for the foreign missionaries in opening the door to China in the 16th and 17th centuries. Italian Jesuit missionary Matteo more »