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Huanyu tongzhi 寰宇通志


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Huanyu tongzhi 寰宇通志 "Comprehensive records of the universe" is the first imperial geography of the Ming period 明 that was modeled on the Song period 宋 geography Taiping huanyu ji 太平寰宇記. It was begun under the directorship of Xia Yuanji 夏原吉 as Tianxia junxian zhi 天下郡縣志 "Records of the commanderies and districts under Heaven" in 1418 but not finished. Work was resumed under Wang Chong [Zhong] 王重, Chen Xun 陳循, Gao Gu 高穀 and Wang Wen 王文 in 1454. It is a description of the two capitals and all provinces of the Ming empire in 119 juan "scrolls", including topics of adminstrative and physical geography, customs and habits, local products, cities, palaces, temples and monasteries, parks, schools, academies, tombs and important and eminent people of particular regions.
Because of several shortcomings (especially bescause it does not contain exact figures for household and tax registers), Emperor Yingzong 明英宗 (r. 1435-1449; 1457-1464) had compiled a new imperial geography, the Da-Ming yitong zhi 大明一統志 that totally replaced the Huanyu tongzhi as official geographical description of the empire. But there is one topic found in the Huanyu tongzhi that has been omitted in the later Da-Ming yitong zhi, namely the postal system (guanyi 館驛) of the early Ming of which detailed knowledge can only be extracted from the Huanyu tongzhi.


Source: Wang Wenchu 王文楚 (1992), "Huanyu tongzhi 寰宇通志", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 399.

July 17, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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