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Lingwai daida 嶺外代答

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

The book Lingwai daida 嶺外代答 "Representative answers from the region beyond the mountains [in the south]" is a geographical treatise by Zhou Qufei 周去非 (12th cent.), courtesy name Zhifu 直夫. Zhou was a local magistrate in China's southwest. He knew Fan Chengda's 范成大 (1126-1193) book Guihai yuheng zhi 桂海虞衡志 about the southern regions, and on his return decided to compile something similar on his own.

His book is divided into chapters covering different topics like geography, administation, relations to southern countries, customs of the natives, their legal procedures, materials and commodities, and so on. His book is an important source on society, economy, geography and culture of China's extreme southwest.

Any original editions are lost. Modern editions are based on the version included in the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) encyclopaedia Yongle dadian 永樂大典 that also served as the basic version for the Siku quanshu 四庫全書 edition.

Table 1. Contents of the Lingwai daida 嶺外代答
1. 地理門 Geography
2. 邊帥門 Border defence
3. 外國門 Foreign countries
(4.) □□門 [Defence and Society]
5. 風土門 Customs
6. 法制門 Law and jurisdiction
7. 財計門 Economy
8. 器用門 Tools
9. 舟楫附 Shipping (app.)
10. 服用門 Clothing
11. 食用門 Food
12. 香門 Fragrances
13. 樂器門 Music and instruments
14. 寶貨門 Money and currencies
15. 金石門 Ores, metals and stones
16. 花木門 Plants
16a 果實附 Fruits (suppl.)
16b 草附 Herbs (suppl.)
17. 禽獸門 Birds and beasts
18. 蟲魚門 Worms and fish
19. 古蹟門 Places of interest
20. 蠻俗門 customs of the barbarians
21. 志異門 Popular belief and strange tales
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