Chinese encyclopedia

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Not to be confused with Chinese Encyclopedia or Encyclopedia of China.

Chinese encyclopedias are encyclopedias published in the Chinese language or encyclopedias about China and Chinese-related topics. The origin of encyclopedias in China can be traced to the late Han dynasty, circa 220 CE. Chinese has two words for "encyclopedia, encyclopedic", common baike (Chinese: 百科; pinyin: bǎikē; Wade–Giles: pai-ke; literally: "hundred subjects") and literary dadian (Chinese: 大典; pinyin: dàdiǎn; Wade–Giles: ta-tien; literally: "great canon"). For example, baike quanshu (百科全書 "hundred subjects complete book") "comprehensive encyclopedia" and Yongle dadian (永樂大典 'Yongle [Emperor's] great canon) "Yongle Encyclopedia". Encyclopedic works were published in China for well over one and a half thousand years before China's first modern encyclopedias were published after China's economic liberalization in the 1980s, during the reform period. Several encyclopedias have been published in China since then, including several specialist and children's encyclopedias. The major title currently available - in both paper and online versions - is the Encyclopedia of China (中国大百科全书 Zhōngguó Dà Bǎikē Quánshū), published by Encyclopedia of China Publishing House.

Since the 21st century, with internet use proliferating, a number of online encyclopedias have been started. The three largest online Chinese encyclopedias are Hudong, Baidu Baike and Chinese Wikipedia.


Main article: Leishu

The history of encyclopedias in China is distinctive and covers almost two thousand years. Traditional Chinese encyclopedias, called leishu (classified books), differ from the modern encyclopedia in that they are mainly anthologies of significant literature with some aspects of the dictionary. Compiled by eminent scholars, they have been revised rather than replaced over hundreds of years.

Earliest compendium of the kind was the Lüshi Chunqiu (3 c. BCE). However, the Song dynasty scholar Wang Yinglin zh:王應麟 (1223-1296) names the Huang lan zh:皇覽 of the Three Kingdoms (3 c. CE, now lost) to be the first encyclopedia. Among the most prominent in the imperial history are the Tang dynasty Tongdian and the Ming Yongle Encyclopedia. The Tang precedent was followed by creation of large imperial compendia known as the Ten Universals zh:十通.


Encyclopedias written in Chinese.



Non free[edit]

  • Encyclopedia of Taiwan (January 2005)

Other related encyclopedias[edit]

Though not technically Chinese encyclopedias because they are not written in Chinese, there have been many specialist works in other languages that have focused on China itself as a subject. These include:

  • Berkshire Encyclopedia of China (2009), Berkshire Publishing Group. Linsun Cheng, Kerry Brown, Winberg Chai, et al. (Editors).
  • Cambridge Encyclopedia of China, Cambridge University Press.
  • Encyclopedia of China, Dorothy Perkins.
  • Encyclopedia Of Contemporary Chinese Civilization (2005), Greenwood Pub Group. Jing Luo (Editor).
  • Science and Civilization in China, Cambridge University Press.
  • Nagel's Encyclopedia Guide: China, Nagel Publishers, Geneva, 1968.
  • Encyclopaedia Sinica, 1917. Samuel Couling (British)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "People's Daily". 1999-09-26. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  2. ^ "New Edition of World's Largest Municipal Encyclopedia Published in Beijing". 2002-11-06. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Encyclopedia on Chinese Towns Published". 2000-05-25. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  5. ^ "Concise Encyclopaedia Britannica (Chinese encyclopaedia) - Encyclopedia Britannica". Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  6. ^ "People's Daily Online". 2000-01-11. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  7. ^ "Encyclopedia of Republic of China Issued". 2001-10-19. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  8. ^ "People's Daily Online". 1999-11-16. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  9. ^ "China's Biggest-Ever Military Encyclopedia Debuts". 2000-08-30. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  10. ^ "Science and Technology Encyclopedia Published". 2001-09-05. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  11. ^ "China to Publish Encyclopedia on Mongolian Studies". 2000-01-21. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  12. ^ "shanghai". shanghai. 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  13. ^ "China Publishes Encyclopedia on North Province". 2002-03-16. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  14. ^ "Encyclopedia on Resource Sciences in China Published". 2000-05-30. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  15. ^ "Inner Mongolia to Publish Ethnic Medicine Encyclopedia". 2000-01-17. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  16. ^ "China's cultural encyclopedia to cover 20,000 ancient works_English_Xinhua". 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  17. ^ [2][dead link]