We live in an age defined by connections. With the proliferation of information technology and increasing accessibility to the Internet, the possibilities for communication and interaction multiply daily. Visible Traces is both a product of and an important participant in these connections, bringing people from China and the United States together and linking the present to the past. The Asia Society is pleased to strengthen these links through its Visible Traces Web site, which builds on the exhibition Visible Traces: Rare Books and Special Collections from the National Library of China.

The featured objects, which include oracle bones dating to the second millennium B.C.E., a Buddhist sutra from the twelfth century, and a Naxi creation myth from 1950 written in pictographic script, illuminate the thoughts and voices of the past. In examining them, we better understand the history of human communication and interaction as well as our own place in this continuum.

On this site, you can tour the entire Visible Traces exhibition originally on display at the Queens Library Gallery in New York City from December 10, 1999 to March 15, 2000 and travelling to Los Angeles Public Library's Getty Gallery from April 15 to June 25, 2000. Educators may explore the Curriculum Studio for related lesson plans and materials tiered to various grade levels and linked to various curriculum standards. Students are invited to try their hand at the Games and Activities. Visitors may e-mail us to request a free copy of the Visible Traces Classroom Kit, developed by the Asia Society. For information on how to order the Queens Library Gallery's Visible Traces exhibition catalogue click here. Chinese versions of the text will be added over time.

Visible Traces began as a collaborative venture between the Queens Borough Public Library in New York and the National Library of China in Beijing to bring rare maps, books, and rubbings to the American public. The Queens Borough Public Library then invited the Asia Society's Education Division to develop teaching materials that would introduce these important objects and images to U.S. classrooms. The National Library of China provided the images and expertise relating to the objects from the Visible Traces exhibition. Now on the Web, Visible Traces is available worldwide and will continue to foster cross-cultural connections as well as links between the past and present.