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Shuyu zhouzi lu 殊域周咨錄 "Informative records on countries far away" is a book about the neighouring countries and border regions of the Ming empire 明 (1368-1644) and their relation with China. It was written by Yan Congjian 嚴從簡 and finished in 1574. Yan had a very typical career in central government agencies and later in the local administration, where he decided to retire.
In his 24 juan "scrolls" long book Yan describes foreign countries in a very traditional manner, dividing them according to the four cardinal points and describing the geography, inhabitants, their customs and local products. It was thought to serve as a handbook for government officials. Yan's source materials were partially official documents issued by the court but also reports from ambassadors returning from a visit abroad.
The Shuyu zhouzi lu is a very important source not only because of the wide range of countries and peoples described but because of its good scholarly quality. It has been reprinted in 1924 by the Palace Museum Library 故宮博物院圖書館.
1. 朝鮮 Chaoxian (Korea)
2.-3. 日本 Riben (Japan)
4. 琉球 Liuqiu (Ryūkyū)
5.-6. 安南 Annan (Annam, today northern Vietnam)
7. 占城 Zhancheng (Champa, today southern Vietnam)
8. 真臘 Zhenla (modern Cambodia), 暹羅 Xianluo (modern Thailand), 滿剌加 Manlajia (Malacca), 瓜哇 Guawa (Java), 三佛齊 Sanfoqi (Samboja, Srivijaya, Sumatra), 渤泥 Boni (Borneo), 瑣里 Suoli and 古里 Guli (Calicut)
9. 蘇門答臘 Sumendala (Sumatera), 錫蘭 Xilan (Ceylon, modern Sri Lanka), 蘇祿 Sulu (Sulu Islands), 麻剌 Mala, 忽魯謨斯 Hulumosi (Hormuz, today Oman), 佛郎機 Folangji (France, i.e. Europe), 雲南百夷 Yunnan baiyi The hundred wild tribes of Yunnan
10. 吐蕃 Tubo (Tibet)
11. 佛菻 Folin, 榜噶剌 Banggala (Bengal), 默德那 Modena (not in Italy!), 天方國 Tianfangguo (Mecca)
12. 哈密 Hami
13. 土魯番 Tulufan (Turpan)
14. 赤斤蒙古 Chijin Menggu (the Mongols of Chijin, modern Yumen), 安定 Anding, 阿端 Aduan (both in the north of modern Qinghai), 曲先 Quxian (Kucha), 罕東 Handong (Dunhuang), 火州 Huozhou (near Turpan)
15. 撒馬兒罕 Samarhan (Samarkand), 亦力把里 Ili Baliq (the city-states of the Ili region), 于闐 Yutian (Khotan), 哈烈 Halie (Herat)
16.-22. 韃靼 Dadan (Mongols)
23. 兀良哈 Wuliangha (the Uriyangkha Mongols)
24. 女真 Nüzhen (the Jurchens)
Source: Zhou Shaoquan 周少泉 (1992), "Shuyu zhouzi lu 殊域周咨錄", 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. 2, p. 951.
July 17, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
Chinese Literature over time