On the cover

Over 18 metres long, this ink rubbing was produced from engravings in a Buddhist temple constructed by the Qianlong emperor in the eighteenth century. The engravings depict 500 arhats—beings who have achieved enlightenment through their understanding of the Buddha’s word. The images are interspersed with the emperor’s commentary; he asserts that the identity of each arhat can be determined by his posture and action.

This and other beautiful artefacts from the Qing dynasty can be seen in the Library’s latest exhibition, Celestial Empire: Life in China, 1644–1911, from 2 January 2016.

Find out more on page 2.

In this issue

  • Celestial Empire: Life in China, 1644–1911
    Nathan Woolley introduces the Library’s latest exhibition
  • The Beach: An Australian Passion
    As Australians crack out the 30+, Robert Drewe muses on our obsession with the beach
  • The Dismissal of the Whitlam Government: From the Shadows of History
    One of the most studied and analysed episodes in Australian history continues to offer up surprises, says Jenny Hocking
  • A Moscow Memoir
    An unpublished book in the National Library’s collection provides a valuable insight into everyday life in Stalinist Russia, says Stephen Holt
  • Farewell William Thomas Cooper (1934–2015)
    Penny Olsen reflects on the life, collaborations and extraordinary legacy of a talented nature artist
  • The Dark and Light of Australia: Darren Clark’s Photography
    The work of Darren Clark ventures into the murky places in Australian society, writes Linda Groom