An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Annan zhilüe 安南志略

Oct 24, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Annan zhilüe 安南志略 "Concise records of Annam", Vietnamese reading An Nam chí lược, is a geographical treatise on Annam (northern part of modern Vietnam) written (in Chinese) by a Vietnamese scholar called Lê Tắc 黎崱, courtesy name Cảnh Cao 景高, style Đông Sơn 東山.

He was a descendant of Ruan Fuzhi 阮敷之 (Vietnamese reading Nguyễn Phu Chi), a Chinese regional inspector (cishi 刺史) of the province of Jiaozhou (Giao Châu) 交州 during the Eastern Jin period 東晉 (317-420). His original name was therefore Nguyễn Tắc 阮崱, but because he was close friends to his maternal uncle Lê Phụng 黎琫 he later changed his family name. As a young man he passed the state examination and was made (shilang 侍郎, Vietnamese reading thị lang) and became a retainer of Chen Jian (Trần Kiện) 陳鍵, the military commissioner (jiedushi 節度使, Vietnamese reading tiết độ sứ) of the military prefecture of Jinghai (Vietnamese reading Tĩnh Hải) 靜海. When Qubilai Khan (Emperor Shizu 元世祖, r. 1260-1294), emperor of the Yuan dynasty 元 (1279-1368), attacked the Annamese empire of Đại Việt (1054–1400), Trần died, and Lê Tắc accepted a post as Grand Master for Consultation (fengyi dafu 奉議大夫) of the Yuan dynasty and was forced to settle down in Hanyang 漢陽, Hubei.

The 20-juan long geography, written in Hanyang, is divided into 26 chapters that describe the administrative divisions of Annam during the Yuan period and in historical retrospective (with a list of the regional inspectors), lists imperial edicts, reports about Qubilai's military campaigns, provides information about local lords, the history (shijia 世家 "biographic genealogy of noble houses") of the noble houses of Triệu 趙, Đinh 丁, Lý 李 and Trần 陳, the educational system, the state officials and their appearance, the judicial system, important personalities and poems of local writers. The book provides information about the geography of all districts and the local customs and habits. The Annan zhilüe is an important document about the history of Vietnam during the Yuan period. It includes numerous documents (imperial edicts, biographies) and information that is not found elsewhere.

The text is written in a very elegant style. It was therefore included in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Sun Xiaoming 孫曉明 (1987). "Shilun Annan zhilüe de shiliao jiazhi 試論《安南志略》的史料價值", Dongnanya 東南亞, 1987 (10).
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