The rare books collections of the Fu Ssu-nien Library contain about 40,000 volumes. Many of these are uncommon or unique texts or editions, and thus of great value to the international academic community. The collections’ utility to scholars may be further enhanced by providing extensive indexes with explanations of the contents of texts and their various editions. It is for precisely this reason that the Fu Ssu-nien Library has undertaken to create such an annotated catalog. The first volume of the series, devoted to Jing Bu, is now available.
This Jing Bu volume contains entries for 463 texts, including four from the Song, six from the Yuan, three moveable-type books, 41 manuscripts, and 105 hand-copied texts. Furthermore, 40 texts and six editions of other texts are not to be found in other libraries. Take, for example, the following two precious texts. The first, Daxue Huowen, was printed on paper used originally for Yuan dynasty memorials, and has thus preserved information from an area of Jiangsu and Zhejiang about commodity prices, land, officials, rainfall, and other things. The second, Huitongguan Ji Jiujing Yunlan, is the only complete extant copy of this book, which was printed using copper moveable type at the Huitongguan during the reign of the Ming Hongzhi Emperor. The text contains annotations made by notable scholars such as Huang Zongxi, Zhu Yizun, and Huang Pilie, and though short, is truly precious.
Annotated Catalogue of Rare Books of the Fu Ssu-nien Library: Jing Bu is printed in color, and contains facsimiles of the first page of the first chapter and other pages with important bibliographic information for each text represented. Thus, the volume has a significant amount of visual content as well, offering readers another way to understand the library’s holdings, in addition providing researchers a tool for comparing editions with those in other libraries.