Great Tang Records on the Western Regions
The Great Tang Records on the Western Regions (simplified Chinese: 大唐西域记; traditional Chinese: 大唐西域記; pinyin: Dà Táng Xīyù Jì; Wade–Giles: Ta T'ang Hsiyü Chi) is a narrative of Xuanzang's nineteen-year journey through Chang'an to Central Asia and eventually South Asia between 626 and 645. It was compiled in 646 by Bianji, a disciple of Xuanzang, who spent more than one year editing the book through Xuanzang's dictation.
The book contains more than 120,000 Chinese characters and is divided into twelve volumes, which describe the geography, land and maritime transportation, climate, local products, people, language, history, politics, economic life, religion, culture, and customs in 110 countries, regions and city-states from present-day Xinjiang to Persia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, among other countries.
Today, the text is of a great value to modern historians and archaeologists. The Records is an important document of Central Asia during the early seventh century, as it provides information of a Buddhist culture existed in Afghanistan during that time and the earliest textual evidence for Buddhist sculptures at Bamiyan. The text also has equal importance in the studies of India, and archaeologists have been using it to fill in certain gaps in Indian history. The book is known for having "exact descriptions of distances and locations of different places", and has served as a guidebook for the excavation of many important sites, such as Rajagrha, the Temple at Sarnath, Ajanta, the ruins of the Nalanda Monastery in Bihar and the ruins of Vasu Bihar of ancient Pundra City. The text inspired Journey to the West, a Chinese novel published in the Ming Dynasty.
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- Li, Rongxi (translator) (1995). The Great Tang Dynasty Record of the Western Regions. Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research. Berkeley, California. ISBN 1-886439-02-8
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- Da Tang Xiyu Ji "Records from the Regions West of the Great Tang Empire" — Chinaknowledge.de.