An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Du shi fangyu jiyao 讀史方輿紀要

Sep 14, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Du shi fangyu jiyao 讀史方輿紀要 "Important notes on reading the geography treatises in the histories" is a comment on books on geography written by the Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Gu Zuyu 顧祖禹 (1631-1692). The original title of the book was Ershiyishi fangyu jiyao 二十一史方輿紀要 "Important notes on the treatises of geography in the twenty-one official dynastic histories". It is 130-juan long and includes 36 maps and 35 tables.

In the first part of the book Gu Zuyu gives a general overview of the territorial extent of the empires through history and an insight into the local administration.

The largest part (10-123), with a length of 114 juan, deals with the geographical history of the Ming empire 明 (1368-1644), the precursor of the Qing. For the two capitals (Nanjing 南京, Beijing 北京) and the 13 regional administration zones, the later provinces, Gu gives a detailed account on physical geography, administration, borders, garrisons, touristic spots, fords and passes, and historical events. Each part is introduced by an overview on administrative geography (fengyu 封域) and topography (shanchuan xianyao 山川險要, rivers and passes).

In a 6 juan-long part on "Differences and similiarities in rivers and canals" (124-129 Chuandu yitong 川瀆異同) Gu Zuyu deals with the course of important rivers and canals through history, as well as with the Grand Canal and tribute grain transport over the sea (haiyun 海運). Gu takes a historical perspective and goes back to the chapter Yugong 禹貢, where various rivers of China and their use as means of transport are described.

The last fascicle (130 Fenye 分野 "Divisions of the wilderness") deals with the starry sky as seen from differnt parts of the empire.

An appendix of 4 juan called Yutu yaolan 輿圖要覽 "Important overview of the geography" provides maps to the provinces, borderlands, the Yellow River and the maritime transport route from the lower Yangtze area to Beijing, the Grand Canal, as well as foreign countries like Korea, Annam, Southeast Asian and Central Asian countries.

Geographically, the book focuses on critical spots interesting for defence and attack, like mountains, fords and valleys. Topography is an important issue for warfare and has always been pointed out by military writers. Gu Zuyu tries to combine theory with the practical conditions of topography. He uses examples from history to show the importance of defence, like, for example, the location of the Ming capital Beijing in the north, which is exposed to attacks from the Mongols and the Jurchens (the later Manchus). Therefore Beijing was proteced of several circles of defence, like the three garrisons of the capital (jinji sanfu 近畿三輔), the three passes in the north (neisanguan 內三關), three prefectural garrisons near the metropolis, nine border garrisons in the north, three outpost garrisons (sanwei 三衛) and three eastern garrisons in Shandong (sanqi 三齊).

The book describes the military system of whole China through the ages, indications the positions of garrisons and fortifications and the various possibilities of the local troops to attack and withdraw, with many examples from history. Of great importance is also the economic situation of the region. Provinces producing a lot of grain are also better able to provide the troops with rice during military campaigns.

The Fangyu jiyao was finished during the early Qing period when information about the Ming period geography was not yet systematically gathered. The first draft therefore had to be revised thoroughly. Extant versions of the draft and of the final product differ considerably. A copy of the draft is preserved in the Shanghai Library, as well as a manuscript. The oldest preserved print dates from 1811 and was made in Long Wanyu's 龍萬育 Fuwen Studio 敷文閣. The Zhonghua Book Company 中華書局 has published a modern edition in the series Wanyou wenku 萬有文庫.

Table 1. Contents of the Du shi fangyu jiyao 讀史方輿紀要
1-9 Chronological overview of (administrative) geography 歷代州域形勢紀: Yao, Shun, Xia, Shang and Western Zhou 唐虞三代, Spring and Autumn and Warring States 春秋戰國, Qin 秦, Han 兩漢, Three Empires 三國, Jin 晉, Sixteen States 十六國, Southern and Northern Dynasties 南北朝, Sui 隋, Tang 唐, Five Dynasties 五代 (app. Nine States 九國附), Song 宋 (app. Xia 夏附, Liao, Jin, Yuan 遼金元附), Ming 明
12-18 Province of Northern Zhili 北直[隸]方輿紀要: Prefectures of Shuntian 順天府 (Beijing), Baoding 保定府, Hejian 河間府, Zhending 真定府, Shunde 順德府, Guangping 廣平府, Daming 大名府, Yongping 永平府, Bao'an 保安府, Yanqing 延慶州; mobile regional military commission of Wanquan with the garrisons of Kaiping and Daning 萬全行都司開平、大寧二衛; app. local tribes 諸裔附
19-29 Province of Southern Zhili 南直[隸]方輿紀要: Prefectures of Yingtian 應天府 (Nanjing), Fengyang 鳳陽府, Huai'an 淮安府, Yangzhou 揚州府, Suzhou 蘇州府, Songjiang 松江府, Changzhou 常州府, Zhenjiang 鎮江府, Luzhou 廬州府, Anqing 安慶府, Taiping 太平府, Chizhou 池州府, Ningguo 寧國府, Anzhou 徽州府, Xuzhou 徐州, Chuzhou 滁州, Hezhou 和州, Guangde 廣德州
30-38 Province of Shandong 山東方輿紀: Prefectures of Jinan 濟南府, Yanzhou 兗州府, Dongchang 東昌府, Qingzhou 青州府, Laizhou 萊州府, Dengzhou 登州府; mobile regional military commission of Liaodong 遼東行都司; app. Korea etc. 朝鮮等附
39-45 Province of Shanxi 山西方輿紀: Prefectures of Taiyuan 太原府, Taiyang 平陽府, Fenzhou 汾州府, Lu'an 潞安府, Zezhou 澤州, Qinzhou 沁州, Liaozhou 遼州, Datong 大同府; app. Mongols etc. 蒙古等地附
46-51 Province of Henan 河南方輿紀: Prefectures of Kaifeng 開封府, Henan 河南府, Huaiqing 懷慶府, Weihui 衛輝府, Zhangde 彰德府, Guide 歸德府, Runing 汝寧府, Nanyang 南陽府, Ruzhou 汝州
52-65 Province of Shaanxi 陝西方輿紀: Prefectures of Xi'an 西安府, Fengxiang 鳳翔府, Hanzhong 漢中府, Yan'an 延安府, Qingyang 慶陽府, Pingliang 平涼府, Gongchang 鞏昌府, Lintao 臨洮府; garrisons Hewei, Taowei, Minwei 河、洮、岷三衛; defense posts Yulin 榆林鎮, Ningxia 寧夏鎮; mobile military command of Shaanxi 陝西行都指揮使司; app. Hami etc. 哈密等地附
66-74 Province of Sichuan 四川方輿紀要: Prefectures of Chengdu 成都府, Baoning 保寧府, Shunqing 順慶府, Kuizhou 夔州府, Chongqing 重慶府, Zunyi 遵義府, Xuzhou 敘州府, Meizhou 眉州, Qiongzhou 邛州, Jiading 嘉定州, Luzhou 瀘州, Yazhou 雅州, Long'an 龍安府; app. garrisons in the indirectly administered prefectures Mahu, Zhenxiong etc. 馬湖府鎮雄等各羈縻府司衛所附, mobile regional military commission of Jianchang 建昌行都司; app. Tibetan Rong tribes 番戎附
75-82 Province of Huguang 湖廣方輿紀: Prefectures of Wuchang 武昌府, Hanyang 漢陽府, Huangzhou 黃州府, Chengtian 承天府, De'an 德安府, Yuezhou 岳州府, Jingzhou 荊州府, Xiangyang 襄陽府, Yunyang 鄖陽府, Changsha 長沙府, Changde 常德府, Hengzhou 衡州府, Yongzhou 永州府, Baoqing 寶慶府, Chenzhou 辰州府; Chenzhou 郴州; app. garrisons in the indirectly administered prefectures Jingzhou, Shizhou etc. 靖州施州等羈縻衛司附
83-88 Province of Jiangxi 江西方輿紀: Prefectures of Nanchang 南昌府, Ruizhou 瑞州府, Nankang 南康府, Jiujiang 九江府, Raozhou 饒州府, Guangxin 廣信府, Jianchang 建昌府, Fuzhou 撫州府, Jia'an 吉安府, Linjiang 臨江府, Yuanzhou 袁州府, Ganzhou 贛州府, Nan'an 南安府
89-94 Province of Zhejiang 浙江方輿紀: Prefectures of Hangzhou 杭州府, Yanzhou 嚴州府, Jiaxing 嘉興府, Huzhou 湖州府, Shaoxing 紹興府, Ningbo 寧波府, Taizhou 台州府, Jinhua 金華府, Quzhou 衢州府, Chuzhou 處州府, Wenzhou 溫州府
95-99 Province of Fujian 福建方輿紀: Prefectures of Fuzhou 福州府, Xinghua 興化府, Funing 福寧州, Jianning 建寧府, Yanping 延平府, Dingzhou 汀州府, Shaowu 邵武府, Quanzhou 泉州府, Zhangzhou 漳州府
100-105 Province of Guangdong 廣東方輿紀: Prefectures of Guangzhou 廣州府, Zhaoqing 肇慶府, Luoding 羅定州, Shaozhou 韶州府, Nanxiong 南雄府, Huizhou 惠州府, Chaozhou 潮州府, Gaozhou 高州府, Leizhou 雷州府, Lianzhou 廉州府, Qiongzhou 瓊州府
106-112 Province of Guangxi 廣西方輿紀: Prefectures of Guilin 桂林府, Pingle 平樂府, Wuzhou 梧州府, Xunzhou 潯州府, Liuzhou 柳州府, Qingyuan 慶遠府, Nanning 南寧府, Taiping 太平府; garrisons of Si'en 思恩軍民府, Zhen'an 鎮安府, Siming 思明府; garrisons of indirectly administered prefectures Tianzhou, Sicheng etc. 田州泗城等羈縻州縣及長官司附; app. Annam etc. 安南等國附
113-119 Province of Yunnan 雲南方輿紀: Prefecturs of Yunnan 雲南府 (Kunming), garrison of Qujing 曲靖軍民府, Xundian 尋甸府, Lin'an 臨安府, Chengjiang 澂江府, Guangxi 廣西府, Guangnan 廣南府, garrison of Yuanjiang 元江軍民府, Chuxiong 楚雄府, garrison of Yao'an 姚安軍民府, Wuding 武定府, Jingdong 景東府, Zhenyuan 鎮沅府, Dali 大理府, garrison of Heqing 鶴慶軍民府, garrison of Lijiang 麗江軍民府, Yongning 永寧府; app. garrisons of Beisheng, Lancang 北勝州瀾滄衛附, garrison of Yongchang 永昌軍民府, Menghua 蒙化府, Shunning 順寧府, Yunzhou 雲州; garrison of indirectly administered prefecture? Cheli 車里等各羈縻土司附
120-123 Province of Guizhou 貴州方輿紀: Garrison of Guiyang 貴陽軍民府, garrison of Anshun 安順軍民府, Duyun 都勻府, garrison of Pingyue 平越軍民府; app. garrison of Liping 黎平府各衛所附; Sinan 思南府, Sizhou 思州府, Zhenyuan 鎮遠府, Rongren 銅仁府, app. garrison of Shiqian 石阡府各衛附; garrison of Longli 龍里軍民等衛
124-129 Differences and similiarities in rivers and canals (Chuandu yitong 川瀆異同): Mountains and rivers of the Yugong 《禹貢》山川, the Yellow River 大河, River Huai 淮水, River Han 漢水, the Yangtze River 大江, River Pan 盤江, the Grand Canal 漕河, maritime transport 海運
130 The starry sky (Fenye 分野)
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