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Culture Insider: Chinese cultural relics lost overseas

2014-08-15 07:11

By (Chinaculture.org)

Yongle Canon, Ming Dynasty

Culture Insider: Chinese cultural relics lost overseas

Yongle Canon is separately kept in museums and libraries in Britain, United States, Japan, Korea, China and other countries.

Originally namedCollection of Classical Literature, theYongle Canonwas compiled in the first year of Emperor Yongle’s reign in the Ming Dynasty (1403), and was finished in 1408.

The Canon contains 22,877 volumes of articles and 60 volumes of table of contents all in 11,095 books, with a total number of about 370 million words. It contains over 8,000 ancient books and records from the pre-Qin Dynasty to the early Ming Dynasty. It’s the largest encyclopedia in ancient China, which was finished over 300 years earlier than the famous Encyclopedia of Britain.

After the encyclopedia was finished, it was preserved in the Wenyuan Pavilion, Nanjing. During the reign of Emperor Jiajing in the Qing Dynasty (1562), a copy was transcribed out of it, when there only became one original and one copy in the world. Unfortunately after that, suffering from wars, fires and pillages by invaders, it became shattered and incomplete. The remnant books collected by public or private collectors all over the world were only about 400 volumes, while the volumes survived in China add to 795, including 730 volumes printed by China Books Publishing House in 1960, and 65 volumes later collected from all over the world.

With great length and extensive content, theYongle Canonis also special with its handwriting. All characters in it were written in regular script by brush pen, supplemented by numerous exquisite illustrations, in which the mountains and rivers are line drawings that are realistic in configuration. The book is hardcover wrapped with gunny cloth, elegant and dignified. It is recognized by experts and scholars at home and abroad as a rare treasure of world history.


Culture Insider: Chinese cultural relics lost overseas

Culture Insider: Chinese cultural relics lost overseas


Culture Insider: Chinese cultural relics lost overseas


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