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 (Jehol, now Chengde). In 1914, they became part of the holdings of the Capital Library (now the National Library of China). The complete collection is divided into four sections: classics, histories, masters, and belles-lettres, each bound in the colors of one of the four seasons, for convenient browsing. The texts on which the Wenjin ge edition was based were the books kept in the Palace Treasury, books compiled by the Qing court, books submitted from all quarters of the empire, and books reconstituted from the Yongle Encyclopedia. The complete set of the Siku quanshu in the National Library of China preserves a rich body of literature and historical materials, as well as the original shelving, cases, and books.

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Publication Information

Emperor Gaozong of the Qing dynasty, Aisin-Gioro Hongli, Beijing


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Physical Description

Five volumes, 31.6 × 20 centimeters

Last updated: January 3, 2018