History and Culture

Beijing Museum showcases traditional skills of paper-making & printing

2017-05-19 14:45:00 (Beijing Time)         CGTN

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Movable type printing. (Photo: CGTN/Courtesy of Wuyingzaoban Museum)

Thursday marked the 40th International Museum Day. When the topic of museums comes up, people have the tendency to think of a vast building playing host to thousands of objects and artifacts. But more and more museums are turning their hand to new ways to run their exhibitions.

For some individual curators, a lack of space is no barrier to displaying a collection. One such museum is the Wuyingzaoban in Beijing, which features centuries-old handicraft skills from ancient China.

Wuyingzaoban Museum is situated around 20 kilometers east of Beijing's Central Business District. ‍Despite its small size and remote location, it manages to attract traffic.

The museum centers on introducing visitors to ancient Chinese skills in paper-making and movable type printing, two defining inventions for the advancement of civilization.

"Take paper-making, for example. We went across China to research the ancient skills involved. In some places like Tengchong in Yunnan Province, traditional handicrafts have been well preserved. I want to let the younger generations know about the great ancient Chinese civilization, and pass it on to them," Wei Haibo, founder of Wuyingzaoban Museum, said.

The knowledge comes from a place more than 2,000 kilometers away, Yunnan Province's Tengchong County, where the ancient method of paper-making was a tradition passed down through generations.

Back in Beijing, Wei and his partners have tried to replicate this process to expose people in the capital city to it.

Another ancient Chinese invention, movable type printing, is also displayed at the Wuyingzaoban Museum.

The invention was a significant breakthrough in the production and replication of Chinese characters, and was a huge step forward for civilization.

Wei, who is a printing expert himself, has worked hard to make the centuries-old tools appear both historically accurate and easy for visitors to understand.

He says people just love ancient mysteries, even though today's technologies are much more advanced. And he hopes that people will continue to pay a visit to his small but ambitious museum.