Xiang Da

Xiang Da (1900-1966, courtesy name: Jueming or Juemin, penname: Juemin lay Buddhist). He was of Tujia nationality from Xufu in Hunan province, a renowned expertise on the history of Sino-west transportation and study of Dunhuang Caves, whose major academic works include The History of Sino-west Transportation, Chang’an of Tang Dynasty and Western Civilization, and An Introduction to Dunhuang Art. In 1949, Xiang Da was appointed Chief Librarian of Peking University Library, becoming the first of his kind following the liberation of the city of Beijing from Kuo Min Tang rule. He established the practice of the regular library affairs council attended by people both inside and outside the Library, as a transitional managing organization. During the national restructuring of schools and disciplines in 1952, thanks to his leadership, the Library moved smoothly to its new site at Yenching University. Books of Yenching and from other sources were incorporated, and also new managing departments came into being, with staff members reorganized. As a historian, Xiang Da placed a special emphasis on the collection of traditional Chinese documents. Some valuable rare books were purchased, such as some batches of Dun Huang scrolls from Long Fu Temple, thus laying the foundation for related items.