Shan Hai Jing
Shan Hai Jing (Shan-hai Ching; simplified Chinese: 山海经; traditional Chinese: 山海經; pinyin: Shānhǎi Jīng; Wade–Giles: Shan1-hai3 Ching1; literally "Classic of the Mountains and Seas" or "Collection of the Mountains and Seas" or "Canon of Mountains and Seas"") is a Chinese classic text, and a compilation of early geography and myth. Versions of the text have existed since the 4th century BC, and by the early Han Dynasty it had reached its final form. It is largely a fabled geographical and cultural account of pre-Qin China as well as a collection of mythology. The book is about 31,000 words long, and is divided into eighteen sections; it describes over 550 mountains and 300 channels. The oldest part of the present book is sometimes referred separately as Wuzang Shanjing (五藏山經).
The exact author(s) of the book and the time it was written are still undetermined. It was originally thought that mythical figures such as Yu the Great or Boyi wrote the book. However, the consensus among modern Sinologists is that the book was not written at a single time by a single author, but rather by numerous people from the period of the Warring States to the beginning of the Han Dynasty.
The first known editor of the Shan Hai Jing was Liu Xiang from the Western Han, who among other things cataloged the Han imperial library. Later Guo Pu, a scholar from the Western Jin, further annotated the Shan Hai Jing.
The book is not a narrative, as the "plot" involves detailed descriptions of locations in the cardinal directions of the Mountains, Regions Beyond Seas, Regions Within Seas, and Wilderness. The descriptions are usually of medicines, animals, and geological features. Many descriptions are very mundane, and an equal number are fanciful or strange. Each chapter follows roughly the same formula, and the whole book is repetitious in this way.
It contains many short myths, and most rarely exceed a paragraph. The most famous ancient Chinese myth from this book is that of the ancient Chinese figures, such as Great Yu (大禹), who spent years trying to control the deluge. The account of him is in the last chapter, chapter 18, in the 2nd to last paragraph (roughly verse 40). This account is a much more fanciful account than the depiction of him in the Classic of History.
Generally, the book is considered to be a mythological classic. Earlier Chinese scholars referred to it as a bestiary, but apparently assumed it was accurate. In the field of Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact, one author, Henriette Mertz (1958) proposes that the Shan Hai Jing records ancient Chinese travels in the Americas, and associates the mythical Fusang with Mexico. Aside from this self-published book, the hypothesis had been refuted by sinologists in the later 20th century.
The Shan Hai Jing has 18 chapters (巻). Chapter 4 has 12 subsections (次一), 2 and 4 have four, and chapters 1 and 3 have three.
|1||南山经||Nanshan jing||Classic of the Mountains: South|
|2||西山经||Xishan jing||Classic of the Mountains: West|
|3||北山经||Beishan jing||Classic of the Mountains: North|
|4||东山经||Dongshan jing||Classic of the Mountains: East|
|5||中山经||Zhongshan jing||Classic of the Mountains: Central|
|6||海外南经||Haiwainan jing||Classic of Regions Beyond the Seas: South|
|7||海外西经||Haiwaixi jing||Classic of Regions Beyond the Seas: West|
|8||海外北经||Haiwaibei jing||Classic of Regions Beyond the Seas: North|
|9||海外东经||Haiwaidong jing||Classic of Regions Beyond the Seas: East|
|10||海內南经||Haineinan jing||Classic of Regions Within the Seas: South|
|11||海內西经||Haineixi jing||Classic of Regions Within the Seas: West|
|12||海內北经||Haineibei jing||Classic of Regions Within the Seas: North|
|13||海內东经||Haineidong jing||Classic of Regions Within the Seas: East|
|14||大荒东经||Dahuangdong jing||Classic of the Great Wilderness: East|
|15||大荒南经||Dahuangnan jing||Classic of the Great Wilderness: South|
|16||大荒西经||Dahuangxi jing||Classic of the Great Wilderness: West|
|17||大荒北经||Dahuangbei jing||Classic of the Great Wilderness: North|
|18||海內经||Hainei jing||Classic of Regions Within the Seas|
See also 
|Chinese Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
Media related to Shan Hai Jing at Wikimedia Commons
- Shi Yi Ji (拾遺记) by Wang Jia - a 4th century work containing "apocryphal" versions of some of Shan Hai Jing stories.
- Mark Edward Lewis (2009). China's cosmopolitan empire: the Tang dynasty, Volume 4 (illustrated ed.). Harvard University Press. p. 202. ISBN 0-674-03306-X. Retrieved February 2012 8.
- Leo Bagrow, R. and A. Skelton (2009). History of cartography. Transaction Publishers. p. 204. ISBN 1-4128-1154-6.
- Lust, John (1996). Chinese popular prints. Brill Publishers. p. 301. ISBN 90-04-10472-0.
- Joseph Needham; Ling Wang; Gwei-Djen (1971). Science and civilisation in China: Vol. 4, Physics and physical technology. Pt. 3, Civil engineering and nautics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 540–542. ISBN 978-0-521-07060-7.
Further reading 
- Birrell, Anne. 2000. The Classic of Mountains and Seas. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-044719-9
- Fracasso, Riccardo. 1996. "Libro dei monti e dei mari (Shanhai jing): Cosmografia e mitologia nella Cina Antica." Venice: Marsilio. ISBN 88-317-6472-1
- Mathieu, Remi. 1983. "Etude sur la mythologie et l'ethnologie de la Chine Ancienne." Vol I, "Traduction annotee du Shanhai Jing." Vol. II, "Index du Shanhai jing." Paris: College de France, Institut des hautes etudes Chinoises.
- Mertz, Henriette. 1972 [first published in 1958]. Pale Ink: Two Ancient Records of Chinese Exploration in America. 2nd ed. Swallow Press. ISBN 0-8040-0599-0
- Schiffeler, John Wm. 1978. The Legendary Creatures of the Shan hai ching. Hwa Kang. ASIN B0007AP1OI
- Strassberg, Richard. 2002. A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21844-2
- Original text (Traditional / Simplified)
- The Original Text (in Simplified Chinese)
- Shanhaijing 山海經, ChinaKnowledge