Published to coincide with the ongoing World Treasures exhibition, which first opened in the summer of 2001, Beginnings reveals how common themes have been treated in different cultures - be they African, Hindu, Hispanic, Tibetan, Islamic, Judeo-Christian or Native American - and is an exploration of how such cultures have dealt with the creation of the universe and explained the heavens and earth.
Underlying these seemingly complex issues are three key questions: Where does it - the universe, the cosmos - all come from? How can we explain and order the universe and cope with it? How do we record the experience?
These questions and the answers to them are presented in over 130 color images from the Library's collections ranging from a twelfth-century Taoist scroll painting of The Eight Immortals by Zhao Boju, to a Mesopotamian Incantation Bowl. Beginnings closes with a section that includes the earliest examples of writing and printing.