Yuhai 玉海 "Jade ocean" is an encyclopaedia written duirng the late Song period 宋 (960-1279) by Wang Yinglin 王應麟 (1223-1296), who acted as Minister of Rites and is known as compiler of a lot of researches on various topics. Among his most important writings are Shenningji 深寧集, Shikao 詩考, Shi dili kao 詩地理考, Han yiwen zhi kao 漢藝文志考, Tongjian dili tongshi 通鑒地理通釋, Wanghuipian jie 王會篇解, Hanzhi kao 漢制考, Yutang leigao 玉堂類稿, Cixue tiyuan 詞學題苑, Jijiupian jie 急救篇解, Xiaoxue ganzhu 小學紺珠, Xingshi jijiu pian 姓氏急救篇, and Kunxue jiwen 困學紀聞.
The Yuhai has a length of 200 juan, with and appendix of 4 fascicles, consisting of a glossary of technical terms (Cixue zhinan 辭學指南). It is divided into 21 topics and 241 sub-topics. A Yuan-period 元 (1279-1368) print includes 233 sub-chapters. A book of the collected works of Zhang Rong 張融 (444-497) from the Southern Qi period 南齊 (479-502) with the same title is lost. The title might also be derived from a lost compilation by Emperor Wu 梁武帝 (r. 502-549) from the Liang period 梁 (502-557) called Jinhai 金海.
Reprint by Taiwan Huawen Shuju 臺灣華文書局, 1964.
The Yuhai was compiled as a handbook for the preparation of the state examinations which became most important for the career in the service of the state. The importance of the Yuhai lies in the vast amount of source literature it quotes from, and which is indicated for each single instance. For this strength the Yuhai has often been appraised highly by scholars. Wang Yingling did not only collect the largest amount of sources, but he also carefully selected the most suitable, and added his comments to the sources he finally used. After Du You's 杜佑 (735-812) Tongdian 通典 from the Tang period 唐 (618-907) and before Ma Duanlin's 馬端臨 (1254-1323) Wenxian tongkao 文獻通考 from the Yuan period, the Yuhai was the only encyclopedia of high quality.
The book was unfortunately transmitted in a very bad state after the end of the Yuan period. Song-period prints have not survived. The earliest print dated from 1269 and was printed in the province (lu 路 "circuit") of Qingyuan 慶元 that was at that time already conquered by the Mongols. The printing blocks were transferred to Nanjing during the Ming period 明 (1368-1644). The oldest surviving full print dates from 1340.
There were in total twelve different versions of the Yuhai in circulation, from which a kind of original had to be recovered during the Qing period 清 (1644-1911). The prints from 1351, from 1507, from 1583, and from 1687 are enlarged version containing other books by Wang Yinglin as an appendix. The same is valid for the so-called "Three-reigns" edition (Sanchao ben 三朝本) from 1738 produced by Zhang Huanian 張華年. There is a print from 1806 by Master Kang 康氏, reprinted in 1883 by the Zhejiang Press 浙江書局, but enriched with a commentary by Zhang Dachang 張大昌 (fl. 1893).
During the late Ming period, Liu Hongxun 劉鴻訓 (1565-1634) compiled a digest version of 22 juan, the Yuhai zuan 玉海纂. It was printed during the Qing period by Wang Yunming 王允明 and in 1879 by Master Xu's 徐氏 Bashan Studio 八杉齋.
|6.-13.||律歷||Music and calendar|
|64.-67.||詔令||Edicts and commands|
|68.-77.||禮儀||Rites and etiquette|
|78.-84.||車服||Chariots and robes|
|85.-91.||器用||Tools and utensils|
|114.-118.||選舉||Selection and promotion of state officials|
|119.-135.||官制||The system of state offices|
|155.-175.||宮室||Palaces and houses|
|176.-186.||食貨||Food and commodities|
|195.-200.||祥瑞||Portents and omina|
|201.-204.||辭學指南||Explanations of terms|