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Copies of Ming-era encyclopedia on show

Chinadaily / A copy of Yongle Dadian on display [Photo by Wang Kaihao/China Daily] An exhibition of some copies of Yongle Dadian , among the world’s largest old encyclopedias, is going on at the National Library of China in Beijing through March 2.

The display shows pages from the encyclopedia, which dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), when it was compiled during the reign of Emperor Yongle.

One page is selected on a theme every day for visitors to copy and create their own souvenirs. Greetings for Chinese New Year being an example.

The encyclopedia originally included 11,095 copies, but only 400 copies, all duplicates made during the later reign of Jiajing, another emperor, survives today.

The copies pages were damaged during wars and social upheavals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

A more comprehensive exhibition on Yongle Dadian will follow later this year at the National Museum of Classic Books, which is part of the national library.

Visitors copy pages of Yongle Dadian in the National Library of China [Photo by Wang Kaihao/China Daily]

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