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Zhufanzhi 諸蕃志

Jul 17, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhufanzhi 諸蕃志 "The barbarian countries" is a description of overseas countries from the Song period 宋 (960-1279). It was written by Zhao Rukuo 趙汝适 (1170-1228), courtesy name Boke 伯可, who acted as maritime trade commissioner (shibosi 市舶司) of the early 13th century. In this position he had access to a lot of information on countries in East, Southeast and Sout Asia and the "Near East" (from the European viewpoint). The book was finished in 1225 and consists of 2 juan.

In the first part of the book the countries are described with their inhabitants and their local customs. The second part is dedicated to local products. The book also informs the reader about the distance to each country and how long it takes to travel there. The information about the countries themselves are mainly taken from Zhou Qufei's 周去非 (12th cent.) Lingwai daida 嶺外代答, but Zhao's main contribution are the informations he got from overseas merchants.

The original is lost, and the Zhufanzhi had to be reconstructed from quotations in the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) encyclopaedia Yongle dadian 永樂大典. Two old prints are surviving, one reproduced in the series Hanhai 函海, the other in the Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原. A modern commentary has been written by Feng Chengjun 馮承鈞 which has been published recently in the series Zhong-wai jiaotong shiji congkan 中外交通史籍叢刊.

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