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Kuodizhi 括地志

May 28, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Kuodizhi 括地志 "Treatise extended to all regions", also called Kunyuanlu 坤元錄 "Records of the originary Earth", Weiwang diji 魏王地記 "Geography of the Prince of Wei" or Zhenguan diji 貞觀地記 "Geography of the Zhenguan reign-period (626-649)", is an imperial geography compiled by the Tang-period 唐 (618-907) scholars Li Tai 李泰 (620-653) and Xiao Deyan 蕭德言 (557-654).

Li Tai, courtesy name Yubao 惠褒, was the fourth son of Emperor Taizong 唐太宗 (r. 625-649) and was given the title of Prince of Wei 魏, later of Pu 濮. The 550-juan long book was finished in 641. In the preface (Xulüe 序略, length 5 juan) the general situation of provincial administration through history was explained, and the creation of the prefectural (zhou 州) system under the Tang. For each region, physical geography is described, the course of rivers and canals, local customs and habits and local products, eminent persons from the region, and touristic spots.

The Kuodizhi had a great influence on the compilation of later imperial geographies, like the Yuanhe junxian tuzhi 元和郡縣圖志 or Taiping huanyu ji 太平寰宇記.

The Kuodizhi has only survived in fragments quoted in Tang- and Song-period 宋 (960-1279) books. The Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Sun Xingyan 孫星衍 (1753-1818) collected surviving fragments and published in the 8-juan long book Kuodizhi jiben 括地志輯本 which is included in the series Dainange congshu 岱南閣叢書, Zhengjuelou congkan 正覺樓叢刻 and Huailu congshu 槐廬叢書. In 1974 Wang Hui 王恢 published a revised and enlarged version of this collection, the Kuodizhi xinji 括地志新輯, in 1980 He Cijun 賀次君 published the Kuodizhi jijiao 括地志輯校.

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