Rubel Rubbings Virtual Collection

The Fine Arts Library currently houses 2,602 individual East Asian rubbings, the majority of which are from China.  The rubbings were made from ancient stone stelae, tomb tablets, Buddhist and Daoist scriptures on stelae and rocks, as well as inscriptions and designs copied from bronze vessels, jade objects, ceramics, tomb bricks, and roof tiles, objects dating from the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BCE) to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE).   

Scholars have found these documents useful for studies in Chinese history, biography, epigraphy, Buddhist and Taoist art, fine arts, and calligraphy. The most significant rubbings in the collection are those from Xiaotangshan (孝堂山) stone chamber, Wu Liang shrine (武梁祠) in Shandong Province dating from the Han Period (206 BCE-220 CE), the Forest of Stelae at Xi'an (西安碑林), and Buddhist grotto sites in Gongxian (巩 县) and Longmen ( 龙门) in Henan Province dating from the Northern Wei period (386-534 CE). 

Many of these rubbings were presented to Harvard by scholars and collectors Langdon Warner, Lawrence Sickman, Hamilton Bell, and Adrian Rübel. Langdon Warner himself collected many rubbings in north and northwest China during two Fogg expeditions in 1923-1924 and 1925.  This collection, Rubel Rubbings Collection, is part of The Rübel Asiatic Research Collection (RARC) holdings. 

A project to catalog and digitize the entire collection was completed in July 2007.  All 1945 Chinese rubbing records and images have been added to Harvard's VIA image catalog.  Each rubbing is listed in the HOLLIS catalog as well since Chinese characters only appear in the HOLLIS record.  Each VIA record links to the HOLLIS CJK record that corresponds to that particular rubbing. A link from HOLLIS exists to the corresponding VIA record.  For further information and assistance please contact Nanni Deng, Asian Art Bibliographer, via e-mail.

A Harvard University Library Virtual Collection,
Copyright 2009 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College