2012 – The Year of China

by Liz on December 30, 2011 · Book Fairs, Rare Book Exhibits, Rare Science Books

Les Secrets de la Medecine des ChinoisAmong gloriously illuminated paper lanterns and grandiose and elaborate paper dragons, China will be observing the New Year – 2012, with an expanded advocacy toward book publishing, a significant and prominent boost of book sales, a strong multinational attendance of local book fair events, and an extremely rare Chinese book purchase by Brown University!

In 2012, China will proudly host the 19th Beijing International Book Fair from August 29th to September 2nd. At this event, several different countries and international organizations will produce hundreds of thousands of books, and thousands of booths and exhibitors will be present. The BIBF specializes in book and copyright distribution, and assistance in all things related to books. For a review of last year’s event please read our article “The 18th Beijing International Book Fair.” This year’s event will feature instant publishing exhibitor presentations, digital publishing, children’s cartoons, all types of books, multi-media animation, and periodical books to name just a few. By serving Chinese publishing as well as publishing to overseas organizations, BIBF truly does adhere to their motto of “introducing excellent books from around the world into China and leading Chinese books to the world”.

It is no secret that Chinese investors have boosted their investments in tangible assets such as fine art over the last few years. Despite the government’s emphasis on book publishing on multiple media and a phenomenal amount of investment money going towards the purchase of original works of art, the rare book market did not yet receive a significant boost from Chinese buyers.  On the other hand, Chinese rare books are picking up sales in smaller and less publicized shops sold by dealers with unique and specialized collections. Chinese collectibles have drawn quite a bit of interest, making Chinese book sales in large and small events at a record high. Indeed, Brown University has proudly dubbed 2012 as “The Year of China”, and has followed up by making a very large and important purchase of an extremely rare and scarce book on Chinese medicine.

Les Secrets de la Medecine des Chinois is the first Western book published about Chinese medicine. It is a treasure trove of vital Chinese medical procedures and is extremely rare, as it was published in 1671 by Grenoble publishing. It is filled with early translations of Chinese medical procedures, and the first recording of groundbreaking methods being enforced in the West, such as measuring pulses and applying acupuncture. While this medical manual is anonymously translated, the actual individual responsible for amalgamating the various techniques and sciences is also unknown, but is known to have dwelt in Canton, Massachusetts in 1668. It is also known that the phantom author was driven from Peking, China, along with other Jesuit individuals such as himself.

To add to Les Secrets de la Medecine des Chinois’ scarcity, Brown University is only one out of seven institutions to have the privilege of owning a copy of it, and it is the first university in the North East to possess one of these rare and valuable manuals. By purchasing Les Secrets de la Medecine des Chinois, Brown is brazenly making the point clear that China is a Country that deserves much respect and admiration for its incredible and enthralling contribution to the literary world.

Only time will tell whether 2012 turns out to truly be the “Year of China.” One thing for certain is that China’s appetite for valuable collectibles is still at an early stage.  In 2011 the wines of Burgundy were discovered by the Chinese investors who spent $9,710 per bottle for 1988 Romanee-Conti.  2012 may indeed be the year that rare books will be discovered by the Chinese investors, for as any fortune cookie message would concur; the Year of China’s prospects appear to be bright and full of rare literary promise and opportunity!

About the author

Partner, rare book dealer. Sekkes Consultants.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat Estryn March 22, 2012 at 1:08 am

I have some old Chinese books, could someone give me some information as to their value? I can send you the titles if that would help.



Admin March 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm

You can list them on this blog providing as much information as possible (title, author, publisher, edition year, etc.) Someone should be able to appraise for you.


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