Factual Records on Huaiyin


Huaiyin, also known as Huai’an, was a prefectural city in Jiangsu Province, situated on an ancient section of the Grand Canal and the Huai River, major waterways for transporting grain. The Huai linked the Yellow River and Yangtze River, and, like them, originally ran from west to east, flowing directly to the sea. In the 12th century, Jin and Song armies, using flooding as a weapon of war, changed the course of the Yellow River so that it flowed south into the Huai. The Yellow River sediment gradually brought massive blockage to the middle and lower reaches of the Huai River, rendering it a Yangtze River tributary vulnerable to flooding. When Zhang Zhaoyuan, the author of this work, was the prefect of Huai’an, he encountered an impending disaster in the form of a severe blockage to the canal. Zhang took actions to avert the disaster, among them directing that an outlet be built, thus enabling boats to enter the canal, and he was given a promotion for his actions. Huaiyin shi ji (Factual records on Huaiyin), published during the Wanli reign (1573–1620), contains his memorials and official documents. The five most important ones are: “Harnessing the Yellow River and building outlets for the Huai River,” “Understanding the two rivers,” “History of transport,” “Details on river rehabilitation work,” and “Details on readiness for the pirates.” The work has two juan, one of them a supplement, in one volume. It has seal impressions of two well-known book collectors, Chen Ruolin (1759–1832) and Zhang Shouyu.

Last updated: July 31, 2012