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Rulan Chao Pian collection

Identifier: HK CVU 0039/PER/Pian
Consists chiefly of research or teaching materials written or collected by Rulan Chao Pian on Chinese music, ethnomusicology. Includes lecture notes, correspondence, diaries, photographs, and slides, etc. Arranged as received


  • 1368-1644, 1838, 1899-2009, undated, bulk 1940-1995


Language of Materials

Chiefly in English or Chinese

Conditions Governing Access

Access to materials is restricted by legal requirements, written agreements with the donor(s) and policies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong Library. Users are required to sign an application form to use the collection. Records containing personal data which might constitute intrusion of privacy are not available for access.

We made our best effort to protect personal data and copyrighted materials during archival descriptive process by marking:
1) Note 1: to indicate materials contain personal data or sensitive information; access restricted
2) Note 2: to indicate copyright restrictions may apply

If you have any questions or concerns on personal data and copyrighted materials of this collection, please email us and we ensure that we would respond to your written request accordingly within a reasonable time period.

Conditions Governing Use

Users are responsible to abide by the law of copyright and privacy. The copyright on some materials in the collection may be held by the creators, donors or any other persons. Users must obtain written permissions from the copyright holder(s) and the Librarian prior to publishing any materials in this collection.

Photocopying requests must be made to CUHK Library staff in writing for approval by the Librarian. It must be noted that provision of photocopies does not constitute permission to reproduce, publish, or circulate these materials in any formats.

Archival records may contain materials with personal, sensitive or confidential information that is protected under privacy law. Users must note that the disclosure or use of certain information pertaining to identifiable individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals or concerned parties may have legal ramifications for which The Chinese University of Hong Kong assumes no responsibility.


150 linear feet

Biographical / Historical

Born in the United States, Professor Rulan Chao Pian (卞趙如蘭, 1922-2013) was a world renowned scholar in Chinese music. Graduated from Radcliffe-Harvard with Ph.D. in Music and in East Asian Languages, she started teaching Chinese language in 1947 at Harvard and ended up with being a Professor Emerita of Music and of East Asian Languages and Civilizations in 1992. Her scholarly contributions spanned several disciplines, including Chinese language teaching, Chinese music history, folk performance, oral literature, and traditional drama. “[H]er vast collection of articles and field reports published throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s constitutes a significant contribution to what was then a newly emerging research field in North America: Sinophone ethnomusicology and performance studies.” (Wilcox, 2015)

As an inquisitive fieldworker, Professor Chao carried with her heavy video and audio equipment all over East Asia. She met numerous performers and music scholars and made extensive recordings of them. Her visits to China brought music scholarship in the West and advanced electronic equipment to her Chinese colleagues. Her frequent visiting professorship at the Music Department, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), was instrumental to the development of its Chinese music programme.

Being the eldest daughter of the famous linguist cum composer Dr. Chao Yuen Ren (趙元任, 1892-1982) and Dr. Yang Bu Wei (MD) (楊步偉, 1889-1981), prominent figures of the New Culture Movement were frequent guests at her family. She also accommodated numerous students, musicians, visiting scholars and friends at her Cambridge residence. Upon her retirement, Professor Chao decided to donate her life-time acquisition of music and cultural resources to the CUHK Library, hence the Rulan Chao Pian Collection.


Arranged into 8 series

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Originals of some materials are not available due to physical conditions or the need of special equipment. Copies are provided if available.


Donated by Rulan Chao Pian

Publications that are about or based on the use, study, or analysis of the materials of this collection:

榮鴻曾、吳淼鑫編。《在你溫厚的笑容中蕩漾:紀念哈佛大學首位華裔女教授趙如蘭》Remembering Rulan Chao Pian : Harvard’s first female Professor of Chinese heritage. 上海:上海音樂學院出版社,2016.

Rulan Chao Pian collection (卞趙如蘭書信文件)
Special Collections (Archive Management)
Description rules
Language of description
English or Chinese

Repository Details

Part of the CUHK Library Archival Collections Repository

Special Collections Reading Room
3/F, University Library
The Chinese University of Hong Kong