Brief Records of the World


Ying huan zhi lue (Brief records of the world) by Xu Jiyu and Hai guo tu zhi (Illustrated introduction to countries over the seas) by Wei Yuan are the first two masterpieces of modern China on world history. They are great collected works on the geography of Asia produced during the mid-19th century. Xu Jiyu’s book was completed in the 28th year of the Daoguang reign (1848), in 10 juan and 200,000 characters. After its publication it became very popular and widely disseminated. The key feature is its 40 maps with textual explanations. At the beginning of the volume are two hemispheric maps of the globe. Also included are maps of the continents. Individual maps are provided for important countries on each continent, all configured according to Western maps. Presenting a total of 80 countries on five continents, the work introduces in great detail geographical locations, mountains and rivers, terrains and climates, local products and customs, historical developments, and other contemporary subjects. The book offered readers extensive knowledge on world history and geography. In addition, it affirms the ways of modern capitalism and gives details on democratic parliamentary systems, which later greatly influenced the Westernization Movement and the 100 Days Reform Movement of 1898 in China, thus serving as a prelude to the wider spread of modern ideas.

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Fujian Province


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6 volumes ; 24.8 x 18.5 centimeters

Last updated: July 31, 2014