Tianyi Pavilion the oldest private library in China

Tianyi Pavilion Ningbo Zhejiang
Fan Qin collected many ancient texts to Tianyi Pavilion to make it today's oldest private library in China and one of the most important. Previously, he had managed to gather 70,000 volumes, mostly on local history. Today, numbers of these writings have disappeared but its remaining treasures still contain invaluable information.

Punctilious Protection

The Tianyi Pavilion, near the Moon Lake, is the oldest private library in China, even in Asia. It´s Fan Qin, high ranking officials of the Ming Dynasty, which accumulated during his life plus 70,000 volumes. Taking conservation seriously, he renovated the Tianyi Pavilion to protect them. Only a few people were allowed to enter, and it was impossible to make out a manuscript.

A Local Collection

Fan Qin was not like all collectors. Instead of focusing on the best writings of the Song Dynasty and rare copies, he preferred to spend his fortune on chronic local history, volumes of wood or manuscripts of the classics of Confucius or the lists of successful candidates of the imperial examinations. With the Cultural Revolution, many books disappeared. The government made great efforts to find these books later and attempted to make new collection of the manuscripts of Fan Qin available to the public. Today, there are 17,000 books from the private library of Fan Qin as well as many other books, some rare, offered or found more recently. This pavilion is now serves some municipal library in Ningbo; it is indeed open to the public, experts and researchers have access to the writings buried under centuries of dust.

  • Best time to visit

    Apr. May. Jun. Oct. 
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