2021-09-14 18:35


She makes ancient books shine again with her exquisite handiwork

For the past decade, Lian Chengchun has remained dedicated to fixing ancient Chinese books, a job that seems mysterious to most of her peers.

Lian was fascinated with ancient books from a young age. After learning theoretical knowledge on ancient book restoration at a vocational school, she went to the National Library of China in 2013, which has a huge collection of ancient books, to learn professional repairing skills. She later became an apprentice to Du Weisheng, a master book repairer at the library. Now Lian runs her own ancient book restoration studio in Beijing.

When restoring an ancient book, she meticulously dampens and smooths wrinkled scraps of paper with a writing brush, and then pieces them together with tweezers, giving the book a second life with her hands. Book repairers like Lian have earned a reputation as book doctors for their delicate art of fixing ancient books by hand.

In Lians eyes, fixing ancient books is of great significance, as it is a way to revive ancient cultural heritage.

But its not an easy job, as an ancient book may require over 10 complicated steps, such as making the paste, disassembling the book, and selecting the appropriate kind of paper for mending, before regaining its sheen. Meanwhile, each ancient book suffers from different kinds of damage, Lian said, explaining that she has to offer solutions accordingly. Every step must be carried out with special care, as any minor mistake could cause damage, she added.

Apart from professional repairing skills, the work also demands great patience, circumspection, and respect for ancient books, among other aptitudes.

Sometimes, Lian would immerse herself in her repair work for the greater part of the day. She has taken unexpected pleasure from this seemingly tedious job, saying that it is like building a connection with the ancient peoples of the past.

Lian said she has become more cautious about her job as time goes by and has always followed the principles of repairing ancient books, including trying to keep their original appearance unchanged.

To bring more attention to the delicate art, Lian opened an account on the popular Chinese short video app Douyin in 2018. By sharing videos of her repairing ancient books, Lian has garnered nearly 80,000 followers and received more than 70,000 likes. Furthermore, Lian often teaches students in primary and middle schools knowledge about ancient book restoration in her spare time.

Repairing ancient books is something I will cherish forever, and my passion for it will never fade, Lian said.

Source:peoples daily

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