2021年12月2日，北京时间晚21:00（美国东部早8:00），霍莉·费尔班克（Holly Fairbank）家藏资料捐赠仪式在线上举行。参与见证这一仪式的嘉宾包括：清华大学杨斌副校长；费正清、费慰梅之女霍莉·费尔班克女士，梁思成之女梁再冰女士，梁思成之孙于葵女士，校友代表奚树祥先生，波士顿美术馆策展人南希·波琳娜（Nancy Berliner）女士，校友代表、路易斯维尔大学赖德霖；清华大学建筑学院原党委书记左川，院长张利，院党委书记张悦，副院长刘健，中国营造学社纪念馆馆长刘畅，副馆长王南，院助理教授荷雅丽等等。捐赠仪式由刘健教授主持。
December 2, 2021, was a very special day for the Tsinghua University School of Architecture: Holly Fairbank, Adjunct Professor at the Teacher Education Departments of Hunter College (CUNY) in New York and daughter of Liang Sicheng’s old friends and China-connoisseurs John and Wilma Fairbank, donated precious historical material about Liang and his wife, Lin Huiyin, to the School of Architecture. Tsinghua University Vice-President and Provost Yang Bin presided over the virtual ZOOM meeting that was held in English and chaired by the School of Architecture Vice-Dean Liu Jian. The School’s Dean Zhang Li, the School’s Faculty Council Chairman Zhang Yue, and the Director of the School’s Museum of the Society for Research in Chinese Architecture Liu Chang participated in the ceremony; also present were the Professor Emeritus Zuo Chuan and other faculty members (like Alexandra Harrer) as well as Wang Hui from the International Affairs Office of Tsinghua University. The Liang family was represented by Liang’s daughter Liang Zaibing and his granddaughter Karol Yu (Yu Kui). Among the distinguished guests were the two Tsinghua School of Architecture alumni Xi Shuxiang (class of 1952) and Lai Delin (class of 1980), and the Wu Tung Senior Curator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Nancy Berliner.
Yang Bin pointed to the historical significance of the year 2021 when Tsinghua University celebrated not only the 110th anniversary of its establishment and the 75th anniversary of the founding of the School of Architecture, but also the 120th anniversary of Liang Sicheng’s birth. In his honor, Tsinghua University staged a series of activities such as the Tsinghua Art Museum exhibition titled “Liang, the Overarching” that had drawn lots of attention since its opening on August 10.
Holly Fairbank then explained how she found the historical material by accident in her family’s home in New Hampshire. While emphasizing her and her sister’s willingness to make another donation in the future, she explained that this donation would consist of: eight volumes of the Journal of the Society for Research of Chinese Architecture (Zhongguo Yingzao Xueshe) that were published from 1933 to 1946 and included the very valuable, hard-to-find volume 7; several first editions of books written by the First and Second Generations of Chinese architectural historians; and three old photographs of the Fairbank couple with Lin Huiyin. Holly’s mother Wilma met Liang and Lin two months after her wedding with John in the 1930s; back then, Wilma was not aware that years of close friendship would lay ahead. To Holly, memorizing her mother meant memorizing the friendship between her family and the Liang family.
Next, Karol Yu spoke on behalf of her mother Liang Zaibing. The health condition did not yet allow her mother to visit the Liang exhibition, but she expressed her delight in the fact that Tsinghua honored her deceased father who had passed away almost half a century ago. And yet, for her, he would forever remain the humorous and energetic young man with black hair who endured many hardships especially during his wartime stay in Lizhuang, Yunnan province, while making a great contribution to the field of architecture and to Tsinghua.
Zhang Li elaborated the significance of the Liang exhibition for the School of Architecture, and explained how the new donation would fit into this picture: the donation would not only serve to continue to honor the memory of Liang as the School’s founding father; it would also provide another opportunity to review and rethink the contribution of the two families who defined the first framework of the Chinese architectural discourse, upon which the current generation is still drawing. The books and photos would be a key addition to the School’s archives, providing prominent evidence from which students and scholars could extract their own identity and memory.
Liu Chang further explained how the School’s Museum of the Society for Research in Chinese Architecture would preserve the books and photos just donated by the Fairbank family. The Society’s Museum is a new addition to the School of Architecture located on the second floor of the new school building and has two floors for exhibition and a third floor for conservation treatment. Just like the exhibition at the Tsinghua Art Museum, the School’s Society Museum also aims at educating a younger generation about Liang as an architect, historian, and educator and as a person. The Liang exhibition, for example, displays several objects that Liang collected as teaching tools while traveling through different provinces, including a lovely Han-dynasty clay pig.
This was followed by comments and feedback from other participants: First, Nancy Berliner who had been instrumental in helping sorting the donated material stressed her role as a mediator and connecting link between the Fairbank and Liang families and also between the American and Chinese cultures. She pointed to the fact that she, like many other American colleagues, would share the sadness of being separated from her/their friends with the two couples, back then because of the wartime and now because of the global pandemic; yet today, we would have the means to overcome the temporal and spatial obstacles and reunite virtually. Next, Xi Shuxiang explained the history of friendship between the two families as part of the two-hundred-year-long history of Sino-American civil relations that had started with the involvement of American church organizations in rural China. Xi, who had been Liang’s assistant from 1959 to 1961, went to the United States in the 1980s where he worked closely with Wilma on the publication of Liang’s book A Pictorial History of Chinese Architecture. At the age of 88, Xi further contributed to the bilateral friendship between the two countries, donating his wealth to establish the Liang-Fairbank study program at Tsinghua University School of Architecture. Finally, belonging to a younger generation than Xi, Lai Delin had never met Liang and Lin in person but continued the friendship between the two families through his academic work as a researcher of Chinese architectural historiography and professor at the University of Louisville Fine Arts Department. Lai worked as a translator and editor for Wilma and Holly, greatly contributing to the publication of many books on Liang.
In summary, the donation further demonstrated that Liang Sicheng, his wife, his colleagues, and his friends were not forgotten. The donation ceremony was another step on the path towards friendship development: not only furthering the friendship between the families of Liang Sicheng and Wilma Fairbank, but also fostering the friendship between the Chinese and American nations and people.
霍莉·费尔班克（Holly C. Fairbank），费正清、费慰梅之女，玛克辛-格林美学教育与社会想象力研究所执行主任，艺术教育中心顾问，编舞家、舞蹈家和Holly Fairbank & Dancers的艺术总监。1979-1989年间，曾获国际艺术组织、国家艺术基金会、纽约州艺术委员会、舞蹈剧院工作室等的资助和委托。她还是一位舞蹈教学艺术家和舞蹈教育家，并担任纽约市南丁格尔-班福德学校和康涅狄格州格林威治圣心学校的舞蹈系系主任。
English Writer: Alexandra Harrer