Nobel laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah explores Ningbo's cultural heritage

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated:  March 11, 2024 L M S

Abdulrazak Gurnah, winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, recently embarked on a cultural journey through Ningbo, Zhejiang province, immersing himself in the city's vibrant history and traditions.

The Tanzanian-born British novelist arrived in the city on March 8. His first destination was the historic Qing'an Guildhall, located in the heart of Yinzhou district.


Gurnah is greeted with a dragon dance performance by students from the Hengxi Town Central Primary School at the Qing'an Guildhall on March 8. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the Qing'an Guildhall serves as a testament to Ningbo's maritime heritage and mercantile history. It was not only a place of worship for the sea goddess Mazu but also a venue for industry gatherings.

Adorned with intricate woodwork and exquisite carvings, the guildhall showcases the city's rich architectural heritage. Gurnah was particularly captivated by the grandeur of an ancient stage in the guildhall.


Gurnah and his wife visit the Qing'an Guildhall in Ningbo on March 8. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

He explored the various exhibition halls of the guildhall, gaining insight into Ningbo's maritime silk road culture and mercantile traditions. He also took a keen interest in the displays highlighting the city's intangible cultural heritage, including bamboo weaving, lantern making, and traditional crafts.


Gurnah and his wife learn about Ningbo's intangible cultural heritage items. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Continuing his cultural odyssey, Gurnah visited the Tianyi Pavilion on March 9, Asia's oldest extant private library, which houses over 300,000 ancient books. He was awestruck by the library's rich collection and historical significance.

"Many thanks for a wonderful visit," Gurnah said.


Gurnah tries Chinese calligraphy during his visit to Ningbo. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]