Main content


Exhibition: Note. Fu Ssu-nien

Exhibition Date: 2020/12/09-2021/06/30

Exhibition Room: Room 202 Rare Texts, Museum of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica

Fu Ssu-nien (1896-1950), founder of the Institute of History and Philology (IHP) and forerunner of the “New Historical Studies,” as well as leader of “May Fourth Movement,” was also an educator and political critic who participated in a wide range of social movements. His life was significant on multiple levels.

In December 1960, the 10th anniversary of Fu’s passing, his wife, Prof. Yu Da-cai, donated over 12,000 books from Fu’s collection to the IHP. These books came in a wide variety of languages, including Chinese, Japanese, English, German, French, and Russian. Of these, Chinese thread-bound books took up the majority with over ten thousand volumes. In these books, his reading notes such as criticisms, corrections, and comments dotted the pages.

This special exhibition features two areas of Dr. Fu’s collection. The first is Fu Ssu-nien’s personal items, including short biographies and drafts of correspondence, as well as personal seals, ownership stamps, books given by friends, book notes, writings, and photo albums. These items allow for a glimpse of Fu’s hobbies and temperament. The second highlights Fu’s reading notes, categorized into seven subjects on the basis of book content, styles of writing, and languages, namely “History of Han and Jin Dynasties,” “History of Ming and Qing Dynasties,” “Collected Works and Book Series,” “Commentaries,” “Stele and Rubbings,” “Proofs of Collation” and “Books in Western Languages.” These reading notes allow for not only Fu’s rigorous research but also his intellectual preferences. According to the account of the Draft History of Ming, Yang Pu was sentenced to ten-year imprisonment for being implicated in the prince’s tardiness in welcoming the emperor. While in prison, Yang studied relentlessly, and to this Fu wrote quite touchingly: “How come have I had the fortune to immerse myself in studies?”

This special exhibition happens to take place at the 70th anniversary of Fu’s passing and his 125th birthday, as well as the sixth decade of the IHP housing his book collections and establishing the Fu Ssu-nien Library. This exhibition is a tribute to Fu in light of his motto for the IHP: devoting oneself to rigorous research while also having the ability to govern and organize.

Published on 2020-11-23