New picture book series teaches children about ‘Rebirth and Inheritance of Chinese Antiques’
Published: Feb 26, 2023 11:49 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Daylight Publishing House

Photo: Courtesy of Daylight Publishing House

A new original series of picture books for children was released on Saturday at the 2023 Beijing Book Fair by the China Publishing Group, People's Literature Publishing House and Daylight Publishing House, revealing the unknown stories behind the restoration of cultural relics. 

The Rebirth and Inheritance of Chinese Antiques – Picture Books for Children from Restorers series includes seven books by scholars in fields ranging from ancient books and murals to ancient clocks and watches. In these picture books, they illustrate how their restoration work helps save cultural relics. 

Zhu Zhenbin, a research librarian at the National Library of China, shared his story of “operating” on books. An ancient book that has been dusty for a long time carries the history and culture of the nation, but also accumulates wear and tear from the long river of time. Zhu and his colleagues are like experienced surgeons, “performing operations on these ancient books to heal their wounds.” 

In addition to introducing restoration principles, tools and methods, his picture book Time Doctor of Ancient Books also introduces to readers information about Chinese paper, printing techniques and storage and protection of ancient books.

Shang Heng, a researcher working on the Great Wall of China, told the story of how he became a Great Wall protection expert. 

“The most important part of my job is to carry out scientific and standardized restoration of the Great Wall for better protection,” Shang, whose new book I’m Restoring the Great Wall in Beijing introduces knowledge about protection efforts at the Great Wall, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Qi Haonan from Palace Museum introduces his more than six-month-long experience repairing a clock owned by the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Daoguang Emperor. His book He Repairs Clocks in the Forbidden City includes a number of similar stories, each about a cultural relic. He believes that these stories can spread the spirit of perseverance and craftsmanship to children. 

Dong Kun from Beijing Fragrant Hills Park focuses on the restoration of ancient trees, often called living fossils. He introduces his daily work as well as interesting knowledge about trees in the new book I Heal Ancient Trees on Xiangshan

Writer Jiang Xiaobin shared the story of a mural restorer she knew at the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang in Gangsu Province, a treasure house full of sculptures and murals from more than 1,000 years ago. In Dunhuang, every cave is a museum. As time passed, these relics suffered from  environmental damage, so cultural relic restorers use their superb skills and technological strength to “freeze time” with their hands, and help cultural relics be “reborn” with patience and care.  Her new book Into Dunhuang’s Mogao Caves conveys this precious craftsman spirit to readers from the perspective of a little boy.