Recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Petersburg State University (SPBU) in St. Petersburg, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the awarding ceremony and accompanied President Xi to an exhibition on the university's history with China.
Associate Professor Maiatckii Dmitri from the School of Oriental Studies of SPBU, who is also the catalogue expert for SDU's project Global Integration of Chinese Ancient Books (hereinafter referred to as the Integration), was the commentator and interpreter for President Xi.
According to Dmitri, the exhibition included books translated by SPBU and published in Russia at different times as well as rare Chinese manuscripts. Among the rare books, there was a unique 16th century manuscript on metallurgy called Tie Ye Zhi, which was written by Fu Jun in the Ming Dynasty. The book was donated by a Chinese collector, and the Rector of SPBU presented the copy of the book to President Xi as a gift.
The discovery of Tie Ye Zhi was the result of the cooperation between the Integration Russian team and Dmitri. Its exhibition gives great support to our project of integrating overseas Chinese ancient books, and it also represents the great progress that the Russian side has made in rediscovering and updating their catalogues of ancient Chinese books. The Integration will further deepen the relationship among academic institutions in the two countries, leading to broader cultural exchange.
Since the 19th century, SPBU has started its collection of Chinese ancient books as a way of studying Chinese culture, and has purchased books regularly from missionaries and scholars who came back from China. Currently, there are approximately 2,500 Chinese ancient books in the university, among which are some rare editions, marking SPBU as an important center for studies on Chinese ancient books in Russia. The Integration in SDU has established a cooperative relationship with the School of Oriental Studies of SPBU and has dispatched groups of experts to work there for many times.
Chinese ancient books are important carriers of Chinese civilization. Russia stores a huge amount of Chinese ancient books, among which are many rare and precious ones. Thus Russia has always been seen as a rich academic mine for philology and Chinese studies. The Integration has worked closely with Russian academia by establishing cooperative relationships with the Russian State Library, National Library of Russia, and The Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Integration project is also planning a research project entitled "Academic Chronology of Russian Sinological Research" with Lomonosov Moscow State University. Related works on research, catalogues, copies of rare books, collation, and punctuations will be published soon.
Edited by: Xie Tingting
From：The International Sinology Research Center, SDU