The recent inauguration of the Zhejiang Literary Center (ZLC) in Hangzhou marks a pivotal moment in the history of Chinese literature. Coinciding with the 142nd anniversary of Lu Xun’s birth, a literary giant from Shaoxing, Zhejiang, this new center stands as a testament to the region’s profound literary significance. The opening of the ZLC adds a vibrant chapter to the literary landscape of China, particularly emphasizing the rich literary traditions of Zhejiang Province.
The Zhejiang Literary Center, opening its doors to the public in late October, is now the second-largest literature museum in China, surpassed only by the National Museum of Modern Chinese Literature in Beijing. With nine exhibition halls, the center is a testament to Zhejiang’s literary legacy, which constitutes over 60 percent of the exhibits at the Beijing museum. The establishment of the ZLC is the culmination of efforts by generations in Zhejiang’s literary sector, aiming to preserve and promote the region’s rich literary heritage.
The museum’s design caters to the public’s growing interest in literature, utilizing big data and digital technologies to bring classical literary scenes to life. These technological advancements add new dimensions to literature appreciation, making it more accessible and engaging for visitors. Cheng Shiqing, the curator of ZLC, has emphasized the museum’s commitment to creating a year-round literature-sharing platform that appeals to individuals of all ages.
Plans are underway to host themed lectures weekly and curated exhibitions quarterly to cultivate a public love for literature and deepen their understanding of the literary world. The museum seeks to gather outstanding literary resources from both domestic and international sources and propel Zhejiang’s writers to national and international prominence.
The ZLC is also focusing on research and innovation. It plans to establish three research centers dedicated to Chinese literature big data, contemporary children’s literature research, and international collaborative translation. The translation center, in particular, aims to foster exchanges with foreign writers, inviting them to Hangzhou to immerse themselves in Chinese literary history.
The museum’s modern literature hall, with refined photos from Lu Xun’s life, offers a dynamic view of his journey. A 14-meter-high space connects the landscapes of Zhejiang with their corresponding poems and poets, blending natural beauty with classic rhymes. The museum also features digital presentations of classic works like Lu Xun’s “Hometown,” Mao Dun’s “Spring Silkworms,” and Dai Wangshu’s “Alley in the Rain.”
Interactive exhibits, like a tribute to Louis Cha (Jin Yong), offer immersive experiences. The exhibition, commemorating Jin’s 100th birthday in 2024, includes replicas of swords and arrows from his novels and a digital reading space for his works. The children’s literature space is designed as a parenting and interactive area, encouraging a love for reading and writing among younger visitors.
Since its opening, the ZLC has seen a daily influx of around 3,000 visitors, with weekends drawing even larger crowds. The museum represents a significant cultural milestone, offering a unique space where literature enthusiasts can connect with the past, present, and future of Chinese literature.