An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Aomen jilüe 澳門紀略

Sep 24, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Aomen jilüe 澳門紀略 is the most important premodern book on the city of Macau. It was compiled by Yin Guangren 印光任 (1691-1758), courtesy name Fuchang 黻昌, style Bingyan 炳巖, and Zhang Rulin 張汝霖 (gongsheng degree 1735), style Yunshu 芸墅. Both authors were local administrators of Chaozhou 潮州, Guangdong, in the 1740s and were known for their attempts to enforce a better infrastructure in the region by building schools and academies and supporting the expansion of cultivated fields.

Their book of Macau was finished in 1751. It consists of three chapters in two fascicles, the first one (Xingshi pian 形勢篇) dedicated to topography, the second one to administration (Guanshou pian 官守篇), and the third to the local population, mainly the Portuguese (Aofan pian 澳蕃篇). Yet both chapters also inform the reader about the history and administration of the city, and speak of commerce, religion, culture, literature, and customs and habits.

The appendix consists of 21 maps and a list of more than 400 Portuguese words.

Figure 1. Beginning of a Portuguese word list in the Aomen jilüe 澳門紀略
Image from the edition Zhongguo shixue congshu 中國史學叢書 11, Zhongshan wenxian 中山文獻, Vol. 8.
Quotation 1. Examples from the Portuguese word list in the Aomen jilüe 澳門紀略
Chinese word Chinese rendering of the Portuguese (character and Pinyin transcription) (Portuguese) (English)
消吾 xiaowu céu heaven, sky
梭爐 suolu sol sun
龍呀 longya lua moon
意事爹利喇 yishidielila estrela star
挽度 wandu vento wind
奴皮 nupi nuvem clouds
租華 zuhua chuva rain

The book was several times printed during the 18th and 19th centuries, and was often quoted by other books, like Huang-Qing zhigong tu 皇清職貢圖, Yue haiguan zhi 粵海關志, or Wei Yuan's 魏源 (1794-1857) famous Haiguo tuzhi 海國圖志. It is part of the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and Lingnan congshu 嶺南叢書. A modern, annotated edition was published in 1992.

It was translated into Japanese, English, French, and Portuguese.

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Shi Yidui 施議對 (2014). "Aomen ji qi suo zai shiwen yanjiu 《澳門紀略》及其所載詩文研究", Guoxue xuekan 國學學刊, 2014 (12).
Wu Zhiliang 吳志良, Yang Yunzhong 楊允中, ed. (1999). Aomen baike quanshu 澳門百科全書 (Beijing: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 75.
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