About Us

The Library of the Western Belvedere (in Chinese: Xiguan cangshulou ) at Fuzhou University is the first library in China specialized in the humanities and social sciences of the West.

The Library fulfils its mission through the systematic acquisition of all major and representative works in their original language, as well as, when available, in their  Chinese and English translations. It makes these works available to educators, researchers, students as well as to  interested members of the public all over China. The name of  "Western Belvedere" has been chosen in reference to China's first great library, founded during the Eastern Han dynasty (25 to 220AD). This library was situated in a multi-storied belvedere (guan) on the east side of the imperial palace in Luoyang, the capital of China in those times. Hence it was called "the Library of the Eastern Belvedere (Dongguan)." By giving  our library the name of  "Western Belvedere" , we not only indicate that this is a library of the Western books, but moreover wish give expression to our hope that it may function as a place where people in China can have access to the sources of Western civilizations.

Library building

The Library of the Western Belvedere was founded in 2001. It is situated in its own library building on the campus of Fuzhou University. During more than one year the ancient library building has been restored and transformed into a modern facility with humidity controlled storage rooms, a large reading room, a lecture room and up to date electronic equipment.

The Library was officially opened on October 25, 2003. At present, it has already more than ten thousand volumes of Western and Chinese books. Our aim is to develop these holdings so that they may one day encompass all the important written sources and reference materials of the humanities and the social sciences of the West.

The founders of the Library of the Western Belvedere are Professor Kristofer Schipper and Dr. Bingling Yuan. Professor Schipper is emeritus professor of Chinese Religions at the Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris, France and emeritus professor of Chinese History at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. His field of research is the history and anthropology of Chinese religion, in particular of Daoism. He has extensively published on the subject, his most well-known work being The Taoist Body (University of California Press, 1993).

Dr. Yuan has a PhD of the University of Leiden and is specialized in the history of the Fujian region and its overseas expansion. Her most well-known publication is: Chinese Democracies – A Study of the Kongsis of West Borneo (1776-1884) published in 2000 by CNWS, Leiden. Dr. Yuan is presently professor of Fujian History and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Letters at Fuzhou University.

Professor Schipper and Dr. Yuan have donated their own books to the Library of the Western Belvedere.

Apart from receiving the active support of Fuzhou University and the Government of Fujian Province, the Library of the Western Belvedere is subsidized by the Yimen Foundation, a non-profit organization registered in the Netherlands. The Yimen Foundation has received a generous grant from Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands. It has also obtained gifts from individual benefactors.

Library of the Western Belvedere.Fuzhou.fujian.350002 P.R.China
Telephone:(0591)87892731 and Fox:(0591)83702769
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