Atlas of Tibet


Xizang tu kao (Atlas of Tibet) is a Qing-dynasty treatise on the geography of Tibet, compiled by Huang Peiqiao and illustrated by Han Xi and others. Huang Peiqiao, courtesy name Shoupu, was born in Shanhua (present-day Changsha), Hunan. He joined the military as a young man and was an official in Sichuan for many years. He studied military and border affairs, and with Tibet adjacent to Sichuan, he remarked in his preface that “to defend Tibet is to strengthen Sichuan.” He began to collect classical literature and records on Tibet and to compile this work. It took him from August in the 11th year (1885) of the Guangxu reign until May 1886 to complete the atlas. He consulted many classical works, including Huang chao yi tong zhi huang yu ji Si yi kao (Treatise on the four barbarians in records of imperial geography); Tang shu Tufan zhuan (Records on Tufan in the Book of Tang, both in the old book of Tang and the new book of Tang); Ming shi Xiyu Wusi-Zang zhuan (Records on Wusi-Zang of the Western Regions in Ming history); Xiyu zhi (Gazetteer of the Western Regions) in Sichuan tong zhi (General gazetteer of Sichuan); Xizang zhi (Records on Tibet), attributed to Prince Guo, Emperor Kangxi’s son; Xi zhao tu lue (Introduction and maps of Tibet) by Song Yun; and many other works. The work is grouped by subject. It is in eight juan, and an introductory juan, which includes records by Qing emperors, such as Shen zu ren huang di yu zhi Ping ding Xizang bei wen (Monumental inscriptions of the imperial pacification of Tibet, by Emperor Kangxi), Yu zhi Shi quan ji (Monumental inscriptions of the record of the ten victories by Emperor Qianlong), and others. These are followed by three prefaces by Cui Tingzhang of Chubei, Huang Xitao of Shanhua, and Gu Fuchu of Changzhou, all dated 1886. Five explanatory notes and the table of contents follow. The names of contributors are listed under each juan title, for example: “Compiled by Huang Peiqiao, Shoufu, of Chunan; sent to the printer by Li Peirong, Huating, of Diannan; and edited by Li Hongnian, Shouting, of Chunan and Li Wenjiang, Ronghang, of Henan.” Juan 1 consists of a double-leaf general map of Tibet, a map of the borders of Tibet, the original maps of Xizhao, and a map of Zhaya. Each map is in great detail, with explanatory notes. Juan 2 contains discussions on the history of Tibet, on border defense strategies discussed in Song Yun’s Xizhao tu lue (Plans and strategies concerning Tibet), and a review of the internal territory of Tibet. Juan 3 concerns Tibet, with poems attached. Juan 4 is about roads, also with appendices. Juan 5 deals with cities, bridges and fords, passes, mountains, rivers, official buildings, monasteries, ancient sites, local products, and so forth. Juan 6 is a further survey of Tibetan affairs. Juan 7 and juan 8 focus on arts, literature, memorials, and “foreign barbarians.” The work encompasses many aspects of the history, geography, politics, economy, culture, folk customs, and languages of Tibet and is thus an important historical resource. Its publication was funded by Li Peirong. The title page title was written in li script by Gu Fuchu. It gives the year of printing, the 20th year (1894) of the Guangxu reign. The title page verso provides the name of the publisher, Shenrongtang of Jingdu. It also has two postscripts, one by the compiler Huang Peiqiao and the other by his younger brother Huang Yunhu. The prefaces, table of contents, maps, and juan 1‒2 are presented here.

Last updated: October 30, 2017