General Survey of Geographical Maps


Di tu zong yao (General survey of geographical maps) is an outline of Chinese military geography in three parts: Zong juan (Main volume), Nei juan (Internal volume), and Wai juan (External volume). Zong juan contains the summary and introduction, with a general discussion of the terrain of China as a whole. Nei juan describes the capitals in the south and the north and the 13 provincial governorships of Shanxi, Shandong, Henan, Shaanxi, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Huguang (a province during the Yuan and Ming), Sichuan, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan, and Guizhou. It includes information on the number of establishments in these provinces, maps of territories and borders, gazetteers of prefectures and counties, and general conclusions. Wai juan discusses defensive measures relating to rivers and seas and the nine military strongholds on the northern border. It also covers important sites along the Yangtze River, grain transport waterways and the Yellow River, the vital strategic points against Japanese pirates, and the scale of sea transport. At the end is an appendix on non-Chinese peoples, entitled “Barbarians in Four Directions,” which discusses a number of non-Chinese peoples located across the sea. The heading at the beginning of each juan reads: “Appraised by Li Fuyuan of Linchuan, jointly edited by Zhu Guoda, Xianshou, of Qiantang, Wu Xueyan, Jinsheng, of Tiandu, Zhu Shaoben, Zhibai, of Haiyang, and Zhu Guogan, Danian, of Jianjiang.” A postscript reads: “By Wu Xueyan, Jingsheng, of Tiandu at Sanyizhai,” which indicates that Wu was the chief editor. After receiving his jin shi degree in 1637, Li Fuyuan, courtesy name Ruchun, became the magistrate of Huating. At the front of the three volumes is his preface, in which he praises the talents of Zhu Shaoben, one of his co-editors. In the editorial guide he writes: “My friends and I were devoted to studying heaven and earth, to examining the cause of prosperity and decline throughout history. We intended to bring together all these realms in one book, and it took ten years to achieve this.” The date given at the end of Li’s preface is the year of Yiyou (1645) of Southern Ming, as opposed to Wang Chongmin’s dating of the 16th year of the Chongzhen reign (1643) in his work Zhongguo shan ben shu ti yao (Synopses of the old and rare Chinese books). The former date most likely is correct. 1645 was the year following the death of Ming emperor Chongzhen. At the time the Ming capital was sacked, the Manchu army entered the city gates, and the country was in turmoil, which would explain the lack of the reign name in the work. The book was engraved by Huang Zhaowen, a native of Huangcun, Shexian, Anhui, whose name appears both in the preface and on the outer margin of the book page. The book originally was in the collection of Liu Chenggan (1882−1963), the owner of Jiayetang, a private collection, and bears his seal impressions. The preface, editorial introduction, table of contents, Juan 1, and part of Juan 2 are presented here.

Last updated: October 29, 2015