The East Asian Library of the University of California, Berkeley has 2,700 Chinese rubbings, second in number among collections outside East Asia only to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The nucleus of the collection, over half of the items, was acquired in 1950 from the estate of Mitsui Soken, a wealthy Japanese bibliophile, and includes albums of rubbings once owned by noted Chinese connoisseurs of the nineteenth century. Other important acquisitions were made through purchases from Chinese scholars and dealers and through the bequest of Professor Woodbridge Bingham's collection. The library's holdings are especially rich in albums of models of calligraphy and bronze inscriptions. About half of the inscriptions date from before the year 1000. Among the many rare items there are a number of rubbings that are not recorded in the catalogs of Chinese or Japanese libraries and museums and may, therefore, be unique. The rubbings in the collection range in size from one or two inches to up to forty feet in length. A typical rubbing, taken from a stele, would be too large to be spread out in any of the cases in this gallery, unless it had been cut up and mounted in an album.
The collection has been cataloged by specialists in rubbings from Academia Sinica, Taipei. Under the direction of Professor Mao Han-kuang, a leading authority, two staff members, Ms Keng Hui-ling and Mr. Kuo Chang-chen, have completed the catalog record. Preservation care is being provided by Ms Nancy Harris and assistants of the Conservation Department, repairing tears and split seams, and enclosing most of the materials in acid-free boxes and portfolios. The cataloging and conservation care are made possible by two grants from the United States Department of Education under a program (Title IIC) for strengthening research library resources.
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Last update December 16, 1997.