National Library of China

First established in 1909 under the Qing dynasty, the National Library of China is one of the largest libraries in the world. Currently holding over 26 million items, it is the greatest repository for materials documenting the long history of Chinese culture. Its rich and varied collections include numerous rare and precious documents. These include so-called oracle bones from the Shang dynasty (c. 1570–1045), canonical works carved on stone in the second century, original medieval manuscripts from Dunhuang, and a Buddhist Canon from the Jin Dynasty (1115–1234). At the heart of its rare book holdings are an imperial collection dating back to the Song dynasty and many significant private collections built over lifetimes in the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties.

The Library is open 365 days a year and enjoys an average of 12 000 visitors every day. In 2014, the Library opened its National Museum of Classic Books, where many treasures from its collections are on display. Celestial Empire is one of the largest exhibitions that the Library has ever mounted overseas.   

Principal Partner


Shell logo

Shell Australia partnered with us to present the award-winning exhibition Mapping Our World. Shell recognises that the success of any long-term partnership depends on mutual understanding. Exhibitions, such as Celestial Empire, provide the opportunity to enhance understanding between two extraordinary societies, China and Australia.

Media Partner

Seven Network logo

Seven Network is Australia’s leading free-to-air television network and a producer of Australian content. Seven Network partnered with us to present the award-winning exhibition Mapping Our World. Seven is now creating more content than at any time in its history. Sharing Australia’s stories is something we have in common.

Government Partners

National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program logo

The National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program was established by the Australian Government to expand Australian appreciation of international cultural material. It achieves this through enabling National collecting institutions to bring works from international collections for exhibition or touring within Australia.

Australia-China Council logo

The Australia-China Council (ACC) was established by the Australian Government in 1978 to promote mutual understanding and foster people-to-people relations between Australia and China.

Major Partners

Wanda Group logo

The mission of the Wanda Group, including the Wanda One Sydney subsidiary, is ‘Creating common prosperity through serving the community’. The company is now one of China’s largest private donors supporting education, aid and other initiatives in the communities within which it operates.

Visit Canberra logo

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government’s Special Event Fund, administered by VisitCanberra, invests in major events that provide the opportunity to increase promotion of the ACT and Canberra region in the domestic and international market. This promotion drives increased interstate and international visitation and generates positive economic outcomes to the Territory.

Optus logo

Optus is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singtel, Asia’s leading communications group. As the Australian arm of Singtel, Optus services over 10 million customers each day. It provides a broad range of communications services including mobile, telephone, business network services, internet and satellite services and subscription television.

Associate Partners

Huawei logo

Leading telecommunications company, Huawei, uses technology to connect people and enable information access across economic, social and geographic boundaries. Exhibitions such as Celestial Empire connect people to the past and, through understanding, help to shape the future.

Asia Society Australia logo

Asia Society Australia is Australia’s leading national centre for engagement with Asia. It promotes greater connectivity and deeper understanding between Australia and the Indo-Pacific in the areas of business, policy, culture and education. Asia Society Australia was launched in 1997 by then Prime Minister John Howard to broaden interest and understanding in Australia of Asian countries and their politics, business and culture. Asia Society Australia is a part of the Asia Society - a leading global non-profit institution with 11 centres in Asia, United States and Australia dedicated to advancing closer ties between Asia and the West through arts, education, policy and business.

 Australian Centre on China in the World logo

The Australian Centre on China in the World (CIW) is a research institution established to enhance the existing capabilities of The Australian National University (ANU). It aims to be an integrated, world-leading institution for Chinese Studies and the understanding of China, or what has been called 'Greater China' or the 'Chinese Commonwealth' (the People's Republic of China, the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions, as well as Taiwan and the Chinese diaspora), on a global scale.

Hotel Partner

TFE Hotels logo

TFE Hotels is a leading hotel operator across Australia, New Zealand and Europe, with 70 hotels including Adina Apartment Hotels, Medina Serviced Apartments, Rendezvous Hotels, Vibe Hotels, Travelodge Hotels and TFE Hotels Collection.

Airline Partner

Cathay Pacific logo

Cathay Pacific was co-founded by Australian Sydney de Kantzow in 1946. Now, as the world’s largest international cargo airline approaches its 70th anniversary in 2016, Cathay Pacific continues to connect China to Australia and the rest of the world.