Long before the Ningbo Museum took shape, Tianyige Museum was the focus of architecture and culture in Ningbo. Founded in 1561, it is one of the three oldest private libraries in the world and originally served as the private library of Fan Qin, an official during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Today, it retains 300,000 ancient volumes and manuscripts, including 80,000 rare books. The architectural style of the compound is that of a traditional southern Chinese scholar’s home and garden. Its focal point is the elegant library building, offset by a classic garden, a pavilion, artificial mountains, fish ponds and a bamboo forest.