Taiping Yulan

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Taiping Yulan
Imperial Readings.jpg
Traditional Chinese《太平御覽》
Simplified Chinese《太平御览》
Literal meaningImperial Reader of the Era of Great Peace

The Taiping Yulan, translated as the Imperial Reader or Readings of the Taiping Era, is a massive Chinese leishu encyclopedia compiled by a number of officers under Li Fang from 977 to 983. It was commissioned by the imperial court of the Song dynasty during the first era of the reign of Emperor Taizong. It is divided into 1,000 volumes and 55 sections, which consisted of about 4.7 million Chinese characters. It included citations from about 2,579 different kinds of documents spanning from books, poetry, odes, proverbs, steles to miscellaneous works. After its completion, the Emperor Taizong is said to have finished reading it within a year, going through 3 volumes per day. It is considered one of the Four Great Books of Song.

It is one of the sources used by Ming and Qing scholars to reconstruct the lost Record of the Seasons of Jingchu.[1]



  1. ^ Theobald, Ulrich (2010), "Jing-Chu Suishi Ji", China Knowledge, Tübingen.


  • Kurz, Johannes L. (2003). "Das Kompilationsprojekt Song Taizongs (reg. 976–997)". Monographies Études Asiatiques Suisses. Peter Lang. ISSN 0172-3375.
  • Kurz, Johannes L. (2007). "The Compilation and Publication of the Taiping Yulan and the Cefu Yuangui". Extrême-Orient, Extrême-Occident. 1 (H–S): 39–76. doi:10.3406/oroc.2007.1069. in Florence Bretelle-Establet and Karine Chemla (eds.), Qu'est-ce qu'écrire une encyclopédie en Chine?. Extreme Orient-Extreme Occident Hors série (2007), 39–76.
  • Endymion Wilkinson. Chinese History: A New Manual. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series, 2012; ISBN 978-0-674-06715-8), pp. 651–652.