The 2023 International Forum on the Culture of the Ming Dynasty—"Forum on Yongle Encyclopedia" is held at the National Library of China

On July 9th, the 2023 International Forum on the Culture of the Ming Dynasty—"Forum on Yongle Encyclopedia", co-organized by the National Library of China (NLC), Changping District Committee of the Communist Party of China and the government of Changping, was held at the National Museum of Classical Books. The forum focused on the research of culture of the Ming Dynasty and the inheritance and preservation of the Yongle Encyclopedia, exploring new discoveries and developments in the research of the Yongle Encyclopedia, as well as digital humanities in ancient books and Ming culture-themed tours. Xiong Yuanming, Director of the NLC and Director of China National Center for Preservation & Conservation of Ancient Books, and Feng Zhiming, Member of the Standing Committee of Changping District of the Communist Party of China and Minister of Propaganda, delivered speeches on behalf of the organizers. Zhang Zhiqing, Executive Deputy Director of the NLC and Deputy Director of China National Center for Preservation & Conservation of Ancient Books, presided over the forum.

Xiong Yuanming pointed out that organizing the Forum and related series of activities is a major step to implement Secretary General Xi Jinping's important discourse on inheriting and promoting excellent traditional Chinese culture. It has crucial historical and practical significance for continuing the historical cultural bloodline, and enhancing the influence and appeal of the Chinese culture. The NLC is the biggest collector of the Yongle Encyclopedia in the world, dedicated to the collection and preservation of the volumes from its inception, and has gathered 224 volumes in its collection. Since 2002, the National Library of China Publishing House has organized photocopying of the existing volumes of Yongle Encyclopedia both in China and abroad. By far, 295 volumes have been published, accounting for approximately 70% of the total existing copies. Since 2014, the NLC has held subject-related exhibitions such as "The Return and Reconstruction of the Yongle Encyclopedia". In that context, the "Yongle Encyclopedia Research Center" was established in May 2021. In February this year, in collaboration with the Digital Humanities Research Center of Peking University, the NLC released the high-definition image database of the Yongle Encyclopedia. The first group of 40 copies/75 volumes of the collection are included in the database, which have received widespread attention and welcome from all sectors of the society.

He said, the NLC will continue to promote the return of other volumes scattered around the world, hoping to pool together resources and wisdom from various sectors of the society to jointly promote the organization, research, excavation and interpretation of precious classics, so that the historical wisdom contained in the excellent Chinese classics can better serve the contemporary society.

Xiong Yuanming delivering a speech

Feng Zhiming said, at the symposium on cultural inheritance and development, Secretary General Xi Jinping pointed out that continuing to promote cultural prosperity, build a cultural power, and build a modern civilization of the Chinese nation from a new starting point is our new cultural mission in the new era. The Forum provides a major opportunity to learn and implement the spirit of Secretary General's important speech and the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and it is also an integral part to the construction of Beijing as the national cultural center. The purpose of the Forum is to better protect, inherit, develop, and promote this unparalleled masterpiece. In the meantime, we will also take this opportunity to continue to do a good job in the cultural field, shape tourism with culture and promote culture with tourism, advance creative transformation and innovative development of the Ming culture, and make Changping a leading area and tourist destination for the exchange and dissemination of Ming culture worldwide.

Feng Zhiming delivering a speech

Zhang Zhiqing presiding over the Forum

During the forum, experts and scholars delivered reports on the restoration, research, publication, exhibition, digitization and return of the volumes of Yongle Encyclopedia, as well as research on the theme of culture of the Ming Dynasty. Speakers include: Li Zhenju, researcher at the School of Literature and Journalism in Shandong University; Xiang Xuan, associate professor at the School of History in Beijing Normal University; Zuo Xing, Executive Vice Manager of CCTV Creative Media, Chief Director and Screenwriter of China in the Classics; Gu Heng, Director of the Exhibition Department of the NLC; Wei Tong, Assistant Professor of the Department of Information Management, and member of the Digital Humanities Center in Peking University; Gao Shuwei, PhD of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature in Peking University; Wei Chong, Director of the National Library of China Publishing House; Zhao Yinfang, Deputy Director of the Ancient Books Department of the Depository Library of Chinese Publications; Liu Peng, research librarian of the NLC Library of Ancient Books; Song Jing, librarian of the NLC Library of Ancient Books; and Li Sicheng, postdoctoral researcher.

Shen Xiaojuan and Wang Lin exchanging books on behalf of the organizers

A book donation session was arranged at the forum. Shen Xiaojuan, Director of the NLC Research Institute, and Wang Lin, Deputy Director of the Ming Tombs Management Center, on behalf of both parties, exchanged volumes of the Yongle Encyclopedia and books related to the subject of the Ming Tombs.

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