Deschutes Public Library News
The Fujian Provence -- Week Two of Librarian's Trip to China
Date Posted: 11/1/2003
It's hard to believe two weeks have passed already. My time here at the Fuzhou Provincial Library has gone quickly. I've gotten to spend time with each department and learn a little about what they do. Quite interesting to me, simply because we have nothing comparable, was the Ancient Collection Management department. This area has over 400,000 items some dating as far back as the Yuan dynasty (about 800 years ago). The collection is housed in a special climate controlled shelving area. Each ancient book that has been "mounted" is rebound with "10,000 year red paper". This paper, which kills insects upon contact, along with the camphor wood shelves, helps minimize any potential insect damage. Preservation of the rare materials is a primary goal. Also a genealogists dream the Ancient Collection is the storehouse for many Fujian family trees.
Over the past weekend I got the opportunity to visit on of the more prominent temples in the Fujian area. Located on Drum Hill, called such because when rain strikes the rocks it sounds like the beating of drums, Yongquan Temple is considered to be the first temple in Fujian province and one of important temples in China. The temple houses the foremost collection in Buddhist scriptures and printing plates. The original temple constructed 1,000 years ago burned down, but was rebuilt over 400 years ago. Among the treasures at the temple is an original table that is made of iron wood. It is reputed to be so strong that even the fire did not damage it. Also notable at the temple are the all jade Buddha, the scriptures written in blood, and the "thousand man pot" made during the Song dynasty. This cooking pot is large enough that enough rice can be cooked at on time to feed 1,000 men.
The surrounding area of Drum hill has rocks that are filled with inscriptions, written by various officials and famous people. One is called the "forgot to go home" rock - since its beauty is reputed to have inspired individuals to forget to go home. On a clear day one can see the convergance of the Minjiang river and the ocean. The day I visited was a little hazy so I didn't get to see the beautiful views.
Now that I've become comfortable negotiating the chaotic traffic here in Fuzhou it is time for me to travel to Xiamen. The town is 2-3 hours south and is a primary tourist area of Fujian. I've got a full schedule down there including the opportunity to visit the Xiamen University Library and the Nan Putuo Temple.