Guoyun Lou's rare collection

Updated: 2012-08-01 10:47

By Mei Jia (China Daily)

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Guoyun Lou's ancient book collection is one of the rarest to go under the hammer, at Beijing International Council Auction.

One of the highlights of the collection is a 40-volume encyclopedia, Jinxiu Wanghuagu (Valley of Brilliant Flowers), dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279).


By the book

Fan of literature

The book has a few of the most popular ancient poems. It also recorded life, culture and history before the Song Dynasty. Its well-preserved condition, together with the beautiful font and engraving, makes it a priceless heritage.

Another notable book in the collection is Guaiya Zhanggong Yulu (Book of Quotations from Eccentric Senior Zhang).

According to veteran ancient book bibliographer Shen Xieyuan, the book is the only extant copy and it was recorded during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) but was mysteriously never mentioned elsewhere thereafter.

"Eccentric Senior Zhang" was a Song Dynasty official in Sichuan province, whose real name was Zhang Yong. He had a unique style of governance, which was recorded by his followers in Guaiya Zhanggong Yulu.

The book also reveals precious information about his life and Sichuan's social, economical and cultural condition then.

Not to be missed in the Guoyun Lou's collection is a hand-written book, titled Shizhou Shihua (Stone Islet on Poems) from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Weng Fanggang authored the book on poetry critics in Guangdong province, but did not get to complete it. The book was stolen. The thief imitated Weng's tone and wrote a fake postscript at the end of the book, and even stamped a fake seal with Weng's name.

Years later, Weng got the book back through a friend who bought it at random. Weng added some sentences chiding the thief for a fake postscript. He also wrote down revisions in many other pages, a rare sight in books written by authors during that era.