Visible Traces: Rare Books and Special Collections from the National Library of China

Calligraphy, the art of writing, is among the most revered of the Chinese visual arts. The history of the development of the book-from early stone inscriptions to printing techniques and the modern monograph-also holds an important place in Chinese culture and history. Visible Traces presents sixty-eight objects from the collection of the National Library of China, divided into four sections: rare books and ancient writings, rubbings from a variety of carved and engraved surfaces, maps, and documents from China's numerous ethnic minorities. This exhibition traces, in broad strokes, the evolution of the written and printed word in China, against a vivid social and historical backdrop.

Visible Traces is part of an exclusive agreement signed in 1997 by Queens Borough Public Library Director Gary E. Strong and National Library of China Deputy Director Zhou He Ping. The agreement provided for the exchange of books and other library materials and paved the way for this exhibition. Visible Traces will be on view at the Los Angeles Public Library's Getty Gallery April 15-June 25, 2000.

A major part of this exhibition is funded by a grant from The Henry Luce Foundation. Visible Traces is also made possible with funds from the Himalaya Foundation and the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Queens Council on the Arts.