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Chinese Literature
Xiyu xingcheng ji 西域行程記


The Four Categories of Literature
Xiyu xingcheng ji 西域行程記 "Report of a travel to the western countries" is a book describing the travel of an imperial embassy to the west, i. e. Central Asia, during the Ming period 明 (1368-1644). It was written by Chen Cheng 陳誠 and Li Jin 李暹 with the original title of Shi xiyu ji 使西域記 "Report from an embassy to the west". In 1441 an embassy from the state of Herat in Afghanistan arrived at the Ming court and presented tributes. Emperor Chengzu 明成祖 (r. 1402-1424, the Yongle Emperor 永樂) ordered Li Da 李達, Chen Cheng and Li Jin to bring the embassy back to their home country and to return the visit from the side of China. Two of the envoys soon started compiling a report on the countries and states they had crossed. During that period of time the region of what became known as Xinjiang 新疆 from the late 18th century on was not ruled by China but by various polities, mainly of Turkic and Mongolian origin.
The book was only spread as a manuscript and in some versions, for instance, in the collectaneum Xuehai leibian 學海類編, published in a much abbreviated shape. In 1934 the Beiping Library 北平圖書館 in Beijing printed a joint version of the Xiyu xingcheng ji and a book called Xiyu fanguo zhi 西域番國志 "Record of the foreign countries in the west" in the first series of the collectaneum Shanben congshu 善本叢書. The Xiyu fanguo zhi might have been part of the original Shi xiyu ji and was later extracted as a separate manuscript.


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Source: Chen Gaohua 陳高華 (1992), "Xiyu xingcheng ji 西域行程記", 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. 3, pp. 1282-1283.

September 15, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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