Outline of the Program

In the past twenty years, the advances in computer technology have made great contribution to the increase of knowledge networks, and a number of libraries are setting up electronic inquiry web pages to facilitate the use of their collection. Meanwhile, the concept of using computer technology to permanently preserve images of the collection arised. To prepare for this aim, beginning in 1995, the Institue of History and Phiologay,Academia Sinica, did a lot of works on the stone and bronze rubbings of the Fu Ssu-nien Library. And from 2001 on , as a part of the “National Digital Archives Program”, the rubbings of the said library underwent a process of digitalization. Among the rubbings of the library, about 1400 pieces belong to the Yuan dynasty(1260-1368), while those of Liao (907-1125) and Chin (1115-1234) dynasties numbered about 160 and 450 pieces respectively.

As were other rubbings, the Liao-Chin-Yuan rubbings of the Fu Ssu-nien Library were obtained mainly by means of exchanges, purchases, acceptance as gifts, and making rubbings by the institute’s own staff. A few rubbings of the Liao-Chin-Yuan eras have no explicit dates. According to the contents of the inscriptions in the stones, the rubbings can be categorized as follows: epitaphs on tombs, steles on the spirit-ways, stone sutras, statues, graffitoes, poetry, Taoist and Buddhist sculptures, decrees of the emperors, empresses, princes and princesses, as well as decrees of the imperial preceptors.

The Khitan and the Jurchen, the ruling people of the Liao and Chin dynasties, came from the northeastern part of China, and Liaoning and Jeho (currently part of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region) were important political arenas and economic regions. Therefore the metal and stone inscriptions of the Liao-Chin dynasties were mostly produced in these areas. The Yuan dynasty ruled over all China, so the rubbimgs of the dynasty collected by the Institute of History and Philology were nationwide. But the majority of them were made in Shansi, Hopei, Honan, Chiangsu and Chechiang. Many of the original stones have disappeared or were destroyed. Remaining ones need to be investigated thoroughly.

Among the aforesaid rubbings, a few cannot be found elsewhere other than the Fu Ssu-nien Library. Some are better than those copies of other institutions. As source materials, these rare or better copies are of great importance in the study of the Liao-Chin-Yuan history.

Among the Liao rubbings, 17 pieces were funeral eulogies for the Khitan emperors and empresses. These stones were unearthed in the 1920s. The inscriptions were written in Chienese and Khitan characters. The latter include the Big characters and the Small ones.We do not know what the Khitan characters look like untill these stones were discovered. The Khitan funeral eulogies are undoubtedly the most precious materials in the study of Khitan language. The quality of the rubbings of these eulogies in the Fu Ssu-nien Library surpasses those in other collection units. Some of the rubbings of the inscriptions in Mongolian language, either in Uighur script or in h’Pags-pa script, are also valuable in the study of both history and linguistics.

Copyright 2006 Institute of History and Philology