Illustrated Gazetteer of the Four Counties of Shaanxi


Shaanxi si zhen tu shuo (Illustrated gazetteer of the four counties of Shaanxi) is an important work on frontier defenses during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). It provides details on defensive preparations in the four counties of Shaanxi that were strategic points in the Nine Frontier Fortification System (Yansui, Ningxia, Gansu, and Guyuan). This copy is fragmented and includes only two of an original four volumes, on Yansui and Ningxia. The volume on Yansui has 40 leaves, beginning with the illustrated Yanzhen tu (Map of Yanzhen), followed by illustrated descriptions, in detail, of the county and 36 defensive strongholds, including walled cities, fortresses, and military camps, such as the fortresses of Huangfuchuan Bao and Qingshuiying Bao. Also included are information on the location of the fortresses, boundaries, numbers of defensive troops, numbers of horses and donkeys, army provisions, the locations of enemy nomad tribes outside the borders, and a guide on how to defend, intercept, and kill in the event of an encounter with the enemy. The second volume, on Ningxia, has 35 leaves and records more than 30 fortresses and camps, including the camp of Huama Chi, the fortress of Gaoping, and the walled city of Zhongwei. Although this edition is fragmented and its author and date of  publication are unknown, the book is an important source for the study of the politics, economy, and military affairs of the middle Ming dynasty.

Last updated: November 9, 2011