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Firming up folklore's foundations

Multivolume series introduces materials not seen in the country before, opening up new avenues of academic study, Yang Feiyue reports.

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-01-30 11:00
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Wang Xiaobing, chief editor of the book series, introduces the compiling process.[Photo provided to China Daily]

"Some of the materials are being published for the first time in China," she says.

Wang says that she and her team discovered that the depth and breadth of the collections of Chinese folklore materials overseas far exceeded their initial expectations.

"Despite nearly seven years of exploration and effort, the documents and artifacts we have found can only be considered the tip of the iceberg," Wang says. "To fully catalog these overseas treasures is actually an extremely challenging task that cannot be completed by a single person or team in just a few years."

She stresses that the project has also helped open up new areas of research in folklore studies, and has delivered fruitful results.

Qu Ruixin, vice-president of Shaanxi Normal University General Publishing House, says the series was developed based on "the research related to the compilation, study and creation of a database of rare Chinese folk culture-related documents and cultural relics preserved overseas", which was a major 2016 National Social Science Fund project.

" (We) believe that the organization, research and publication of rare Chinese folk culture documents overseas are significantly important in preserving and passing on cultural heritage, as well as in promoting mutual exchanges and interactions among cultures," Qu says, explaining why the publishing house was interested in the prospect of cooperating with Wang and her team.

Qu says that Wang demonstrates a broad range of expertise that includes folklore, ethnology, Chinese literature, Japanese studies and economics, among other disciplines.

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