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Zhenla fengtu ji 真臘風土記

Jul 17, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhenla fengtu ji 真臘風土記 "Land and people of Cambodia" is a description of the ancient kingdom of Cambodia, by the Chinese called Zhenla 真臘. It was written Zhou Daguan 周達觀, courtesy name Caoting 草庭, style Caoting Yimin 草庭逸民 (1266-?), who had visited the country as a Chinese ambassador during the years 1295 to 1297.

Zhou describes the travel route, the city of Angkor, the royal palace, the officials, religion, persons and their customs and habits, the language, their ways of living, festivities, agriculture, trade, the landscape, animals, and much more. The book is not only interesting because it is the earliest detailed description of one single country in Southeast Asia but also because it fills a gap in the official history of the Yuan dynasty 元 (1279-1368), in which Zhenla is not described in the chapter on foreign countries (Yuanshi 元史 208-210 Waiyi 外夷 1-3).

The earliest print of the Zhenla fengtu ji is included in Tao Zongyi's 陶宗儀 (1329-1410) series Shuofu 說郛. During the following centuries the book was included in most of the large series, namely the Gujin shuohai 古今說海, Lidai xiaoshi 歷代小史, Gujin yishi 古今逸史 and Baichuan xuehai 百川學海 from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644), the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) reprint of the Shuofu, the encyclopaedia Gujin tushu jicheng 古今圖書集成, the Siku quanshu 四庫全書, and a print by Master Xu 許氏 from Rui'an 瑞安. In 1981 the Zhonghua Shuju Press 中華書局 published an edition annotated and commented by Xia Nai 夏鼐, the Zhenla fengtu ji jiaozhu 真臘風土記校注.

There are numerous translations into foreign languages.

Sources:
Abel-Rémusat, Jean-Pierre, transl. (1819). Description du royaume de Cambodge par un voyageur chinois qui a visité cette contrée à la fin du XIII siècle [...] (Paris: Smith).
d'Arcy Paul, John Gilman, transl. (1993). The Customs of Cambodia (Bangkok: Siam Society).
Hanke, Martin (2015?). Angkor um 1300: Das Zhenla fengtu ji 眞臘風土記 des Zhou Daguan 周達觀 (Großheirath: Ostasien Verlag).
Harris, Peter, transl. (2007). A Record of Cambodia: The Land and Its People (Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books).
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 1091.
Lin Zaisen 林在森 (2001). "Zhenla fengtu ji 真臘風土記", in Huaqiao Huaren baike quanshu Zhuzuo xueshu juan bianji wenyuanhui 華僑華人百科全書·著作學術卷》編輯委員會, ed. Huaqiao Huaren baike quanshu 華僑華人百科全書, Vol. Zhuzuo xueshu 著作學術卷 (Beijing: Zhongguo Huaqiao chubanshe), 598.
Lu Junling 陸峻岭 (1992). "Zhenla fengtu ji 真臘風土記", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Part Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 3, 1520.
Pelliot, Paul (1951). Mémoires sur les coutumes du Cambodge de Tcheou Ta-Kouan (Paris : Adrien-Maisonneuve).
Smithies, Michael, transl. (2001). The Customs of Cambodia (Bangkok: Siam Society)
Uk, Soland , Beling Uk, Kent Davis, transl. (2016). Customs of Cambodia ( Holmes Beach, FL: DatAsia Press).
Wang Zhaoming 王兆明, Fu Langyun 傅朗云, ed. (1991). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Dili 地理卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 282.
Xu Zhaolin 許肇琳 (1992). "Zhenla fengtu ji 真臘風土記", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Part Waiguo lishi 外國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1138.
Yang Wenheng 楊文衡 (1997). "Zhenla fengtu ji 真臘風土記", in Men Kui 門巋, Zhang Yanqin 張燕瑾, ed. Zhonghua guocui da cidian 中華國粹大辭典 (Xianggang: Guoji wenhua chuban gongsi), 398.
Zhou Weizhou 周偉洲, Ding Jingtai 丁景泰, ed. (2006). Sichou zhi lu da cidian 絲綢之路大辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 734.