Oldest Kang Xi Dictionary on display in Shanxi

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2014-05-29

The first exhibit of a private antique art collection opened in Shanxi on May 28, at the Royal Residence of the Premier in Jincheng. The scenic area management office of the site received a set of Kang Xi Dictionary, a 40-volume Chinese dictionary compiled during the reign of Kang Xi in the Qing Dynasty, from Hua Shaofeng, an entrepreneur from Zhengzhou, Henan province. This is the earliest edition of Kang Xi Dictionary among the 128 editions of the dictionary collected by the Dictionary Museum of China in the scenic area.

In 1710, Emperor Kang Xi ordered more than 30 scholars to compile a standard Chinese dictionary. The dictionary was finished in 1716. It contains 470,035 Chinese characters, and has always been one of the most important references for studying Chinese characters. There are many different editions of Kang Xi Dictionary. The one donated by Hua was printed during Emperor Kang Xi’s reign and is the earliest edition seen in a private collection, which is rare.

The pages of the dictionary have been oxidized and become so vulnerable that they can only be turned by special tools. Some character radicals can be seen on the side of the dictionary, which is said to have been written by previous owners.

The exhibition is co-hosted by the Shanxi Royal Residence of the Premier, Jincheng Association of Collectors, Henan Chamber of Commerce for Private Antique Artwork, and Zhengzhou Yongchang Porcelain Gallery. In addition to the Kang Xi Dictionary, Hua Shaofeng, owner of the Zhengzhou Yongchang Porcelain Gallery, also donated 178 other valuable antique artworks. Meanwhile, he brought nearly 300 priceless artifacts to be displayed at the Royal Residence of the Premier.