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Type of Item
Winds of the Four Directions
This oracle bone from around 1200 B.C. contains 24 characters in four groups in a vigorous and strong style, typical of the Bin group of diviners in the reign of Wu Ding (circa 1200-1189 B.C.). It records the gods of the four directions and of the four winds. The winds of the four directions reflect the spring and autumn equinoxes, the summer and winter solstices, and the changes of the four seasons. The four winds are the east wind, called Xie; the south wind, called Wei; the west ...
The Zhaocheng Jin Tripitaka
This edition of the Buddhist canon was printed between about the ninth year of the Huangtong era of Xizong of the Jin dynasty and sometime in the Dading era of Shizong, and for this reason is called the "Jin Tripitaka" by scholars. It is also called the “Jin Tripitaka from Tianning Temple in Xiezhou" because the woodblocks were carved at Tianning Temple on Jinglin Mountain, in Xiezhou, Shanxi (modern Xie County in the Jinnan district). In 1933, the work was rediscovered at Guangsheng Temple in Zhaocheng County, Shanxi, so its ...
The Yongle Encyclopedia is a large-scale encyclopedia–the largest in pre-modern China--arranged by subject categories traditionally used in China. The entire work is comprised of 22,877 juan (sections) of text proper and a prolegomenon and index in 60 juan, all bound in 11,095 volumes, amounting to about 370 million characters in all. The encyclopedia preserved textual information from about 8,000 texts of all kinds, from pre-Qin times to the early Ming dynasty, covering the works of famous specialists in such areas as astronomy, geography, human affairs, famous ...
The Complete Library in Four Sections (Siku Quanshu)
Siku quanshu (Complete library in four sections), compiled in the Qianlong period of the Qing dynasty, was the largest collection of texts in pre-modern China and has an important historical place in the histories of cultural texts and academic thought in China. The Wenjin ge edition is a manuscript written during the Qianlong reign. It includes a total of 36,304 volumes in 6,144 boxes placed on 128 bookshelves. They comprise 79,309 juan (sections) and were originally kept in the Wenjin Pavilion at the Summer Palace in Rehe ...
The Exploitation of the Works of Nature (Tiangong Kaiwu)
Tiangong kaiwu (Exploitation of the works of nature), an integrated work on agriculture and handicrafts, is one of the most important works on science and technology in the history of China. A European scholar has called it a 17th-century version of the Denis Diderot's Encyclopédie published in France in the 18th century The author was the noted Ming dynasty scientist Song Yingxing. While working as an instructor in Fenyi County in Jiangxi province, he researched agricultural and artisanal technology, which he then organized into a book. This work was ...
Secret Edition of the Northern Western Wing Corrected by Mr. Zhang Shenzhi
The Yuan dynasty drama, Story of the Western Wing, by Wang Shifu, is the finest dramatic work of traditional China. It ranks with Tang Xianzu’s Peony Pavilion, Kong Shangren’s Peach Blossom Fan, and Hong Sheng’s Palace of Everlasting Life as one of the four great classical dramas of pre-modern China, and has had a far-reaching influence on the literature and theatrical history of China. The plot of the drama is a reworking of the short work, The Story of Yingying (also titled Encounter with an Immortal) by ...
Office of Great Peace Album of Opera Faces
This album of pictures shows makeup for characters in the Peking opera. It is the work of a court painter in or after the Tongzhi reign (1851–74). In the Qing dynasty, an Office of Great Peace was established to manage the court dramatic troupe. When seasonal command performances and congratulatory ceremonies were held, this office was responsible for putting on plays. The makeup of the characters in the plays generally followed a set repertoire of faces and colors. The 97 paintings in this book show makeup for nine different ...
Twenty-One Hymns to the Rescuer Mother of Buddhas
Also known as “Twenty-One Hymns to the Rescuer Saint Tārā, Mother of Buddhas,” this item is a sutra from Tibetan esoteric Buddhism. The copyist was Yong Rong (1744–90), sixth son of the Qianlong emperor and general editor of the Siku quanshu. In addition to being a poet, calligrapher, and painter, Yong Rong had a sophisticated understanding of astronomy and mathematics. On the top protective cover of this item is written, “Imperially commissioned translation of the hymn to the rescuer mother of Buddhas," in Manchu, Tibetan, Mongolian, and Chinese scripts ...
Annals of Creation
The cover of this work by an unknown author bears the title Translation of the Entire Text of the “Yao Annals of Creation.” In this bilingual text, the Dongba text is in color and the Chinese text is in black. The Dongba glyphs are ancient characters that were used to record the dialect of the western Naxi nationality centered around the Li River in Yunnan. They were developed in approximately the seventh century. The Annals of Creation reflect the understanding of the Naxi people concerning the natural world and the ...
Collected Works of Han Yu
Han Yu is chief among the eight major writers of the Tang and Song dynasties. His writings are rich in content, powerful, fresh, and lively. The 40-juan (section) Collected Works of Han Yu (Changli xiansheng ji [Collected works of the Master from Changli]) was compiled by his disciple Li Han, and is the most comprehensive compendium of Han Yu’s works. The “Outer Collection” and “Omitted Writings” were added by Song dynasty scholars who recovered lost works by Han. This edition was printed in the Jianchun era (late 13th ...
The Su Wen of the Huangdi Neijing (Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor)
Huangdi neijing (The inner classic of the yellow emperor) was created some time between the Warring States period and the Qin-Han period as a summation of Chinese medical knowledge up to the time of the Han dynasty. It is the earliest surviving work on Chinese medicine. The work is divided into two parts: the Su wen (Basic questions) and the Ling shu (Numinous spindle). After the Han dynasty, each part circulated separately. Su wen is written in a question-and-answer format involving the Yellow Emperor and various physicians of high antiquity ...
The Xiping Stone Classics
These engravings of the seven Confucian classics were set up outside the National University Gate, located on the south side of Loyang, the capital city, in the Eastern Han dynasty. They were created between 175 and 183, after Cai Yong and a group of scholars successfully petitioned the emperor to have the Confucian classics carved in stone in order to prevent their being altered to support particular points of view. They are also called the “Han Stone Classics” and the “Single-Script Stone Classics." The seven classics -- The Book of Changes ...
Stele of the Army of Inspired Strategy
This rubbing of a stone stele records the inspection of the Army of Inspired Strategy by the Tang emperor Wuzong (Li Yan). The text was composed by Cui Xuan and written by Liu Gongquan, both of the Tang dynasty. The stele was erected in the third year of the Huichang era (843 A.D.), but within a century was damaged by soldiers and soon disappeared. Because the stele was erected within the Imperial Palace, rubbings were not easily taken, even when it was still intact. These Song dynasty rubbings, also ...
Stele of the Spread of the Assyrian Teachings of the Great Qin to the Central States
This stele was erected in the second year of the Jianzhong era of the Tang period (781 A.D.), by the Persian missionary Yazdhozid, in the Great Qin Temple. The text was composed by the Persian missionary Jingjing; the calligraphy is by Lü Xiuyan. The text of the stele describes the propagation of the “Luminous Teachings" (of the Assyrian Church of the East, sometimes erroneously referred to as Nestorians) in the Tang dynasty, including the translation into Chinese of the Assyrian religious text Sutra of the Teachings of the World-Honored ...
Map of the Lands Where the Sage-Emperor Yu Left His Traces
This rubbing is of a Chinese map engraved in stone in the seventh year of the Fouchang era of the Qi state (1136). The stele survives in the Forest of Steles in Xi’an. The map is oriented with north at the top and south at the bottom. Over 500 place names are plotted on the map, which represents a panorama of China in Song times. The engraving of the hydraulic systems is especially detailed, with nearly 80 rivers named. The courses of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers are very ...
Map of Jiangxi Province with Explanations
This lively and colorful volume contains a collection of 37 maps of Jiangxi province from the Ming dynasty: a general map (26 by 56 centimeters) and 36 maps of individual prefectures and counties (each 28 by 26 centimeters). The work is the earliest extant map of Jiangxi province and constitutes a valuable resource for researching pre-modern Chinese maps and the geography of Jiangxi. It also shows the quality of traditional cartography in Ming China. The maps employ traditional Chinese drawing methods to depict in precise detail mountain passes, rivers, lakes ...
On the Fall of States
This complete scroll of a Tang dynasty manuscript was unearthed in Dunhuang, China. The text is written in ink on yellowish paper in a regular script, in well-spaced columns with beautiful characters. The scroll contains a work entitled On the Fall of States, by Lu Ji (261-303), a writer of the Western Jin dynasty. Modeled on Jia Yi’s On a Visit to Qin, it describes the rise and fall of the Eastern Wu in the Three Kingdoms period, as well as the meritorious contributions of the Lu family. Famous ...
Diamond Prajna Paramita Sutra
This complete scroll from the first year of the Yifeng era (676) of the Tang dynasty was unearthed in Dunhuang, China. The scroll contains the Diamond Prajna pāramitā sutra, a work that is an important sacred text in the prajñā line of Mahayana Buddhism as well as a foundational text in Chinese Chan (Japanese Zen) Buddhism. The text was transmitted to China in the Period of Southern and Northern Courts in many translations, but the translation by Kumārajīva is the most respected. For generations, it was felt that reciting the ...
The Four Books in Chapter and Verse with Collected Commentaries
The Analects is one of the important classics for Ruist (Confucian) scholars. It was compiled by the disciples of Confucius and their disciples. It mostly records conversations and dialogs relating to Confucius and his disciples that reflect the views and principles of Confucius as applied to administration, ethics, morality, and education. The generally accepted version of The Analects has 20 sections. Zhu Xi (1130-1200) of the Song dynasty took “The Great Learning” and “The Doctrine of the Mean” from The Book of Rites and combined these extracts with The Mencius ...
Partial Draft of the Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government (Zizhi Tongjian)
The Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government (Zizhi tongjian) is the first comprehensive, chronologically-organized history in China. It describes 1,362 years of history, from the 23rd year of King Weilie of the Zhou (403 B.C.) to the sixth year of the Xuande era (959 A.D.) of the Later Zhou dynasty. The entire book comprises 294 juan (sections), with a 30-juan index and a 30-juan “investigation of inconsistencies.” The compiler was Sima Guang (1019–86), assisted by others. Sima Guang (courtesy name Junshi, sobriquet Yusou, commonly called Master ...