There are as many as 2,602 East Asian rubbings among Harvard’s libraries. A larger majority of these rubbings are from China. Many different techniques were used for making these rubbings that were taken from a multitude of objects including ancient stone stelae, jade objects, tomb bricks, ceramics, roof tiles and many more which date back to both Qin and Ming dynasty.
Those who are interested in the study of Chinese history, epigraphy, calligraphy, or Taoist art have made tremendous use of these documents. Some of the most significant rubbings which are found in this collection are mainly the ones from Xiaotangshan stone chamber, Wu Liang shrine, Longmen in the Henan province, the Buddhist grotto sites in Gongxian and the forest of Stelae at Xi’an as well.
Owing to the significance of these rubbings, a lot of them were presented to Harvard by various scholars and collectors like Hamilton Bell, Langdon Warner, C. Adrian Rubel and Lawrence Sickman. It is important to add that Langdon Warner collected a lot of rubbings during his two fogg expeditions back in 1923-24 and 1925.
One can see the depth of artistic brilliance in these rubbings and they serve as a great way to learn more about the culture and artistic brilliance of the past. The whole collection of Chinese rubbings was digitized and it has been catalogued for easy and quick reference. The details of these records and the images of these rubbings were added to Harvard’s VIA and HOLLIS. No doubt, it is a matter of significant interest for everyone who wants to explore more about the history and legacy of the Chinese heritage.
The rubbings are one of the best ways of getting an insight into what culture and art looked like in the old days..
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