Sancai Tuhui, compiled by Wang Qi (Chinese: 王圻) and Wang Siyi (Chinese: 王思義), is a Chinese encyclopedia known at the time as a type of Book by category (類書), completed in 1607 and published in 1609 during the Ming dynasty, featuring illustrations of subjects in the three worlds of heaven, earth, and humanity.
The title of this encyclopedia has been variously translated into English as “Illustrations of the Three Powers”, “Collected Illustrations of the Three Realms”, “Pictorial Compendium of the Three Powers”, and others; in the original title, “Sancai” refers to the three realms of “heaven, earth, and man”, and “Tuhui” literally means “collection of illustrations”.
This encyclopedia is organized into 106 chapters in 14 categories (astronomy, geography, biographies, history, biology, and such), with text and illustrations for the articles. Reproductions of this encyclopedia are still in print in China.
While it contains some inaccurate or mythological articles (for example, the articles on the horseshoe crab and the crane), it also distinguished itself from the common “everyday encyclopedias” (riyong leishu 日用類書) at that time by being accurate in some other articles (for example, accurate depictions of the Japanese and Korean people’s clothing, and a very accurate world map (the Shanhai Yudi Quantu)
See also