Cefu Yuangui

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Cefu Yuangui
EditorWang Qinruo, Yang Yi et al.
CountrySong dynasty
LanguageClassical Chinese
Subjectmainly politics and history
Publication date
Cefu Yuangui
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Literal meaningPrime Tortoise of the Book Department

Cefu Yuangui (冊府元龜) is the largest leishu (encyclopedia) compiled during the Chinese Song Dynasty (AD 960–1279). It was the last of the Four Great Books of Song, the previous three having been published in the 10th century.


The encyclopedia was commissioned by Emperor Zhenzong in October 1005 under the working title Records of Relations Between Rulers and Officials in Past Dynasties but was renamed Models from the Archives by the Emperor, to whom the finished work was presented on September 20, 1013. The final product was divided into 1,000 juan, 31 categories, and 1014 subcategories, all of which "related to administration of the empire, to bureaucracy, and to the imperial family." It did not include chapters on the natural world. Many people worked on the encyclopedia, including Wang Qinruo and Yang Yi who requested that the emperor hire more compilers.[1] It was almost twice as large as the Imperial Reader of the Taiping Era and was ranked second in the Siku Quanshu collections.[citation needed]


English titles for this encyclopedia are

  • Prime Tortoise of the Record Bureau,[2]
  • The Magic Mirror in the Palace of Books,[3]
  • Archival Palace as the Great Oracle,[4]
  • General Preface on Outer Ministers,[5]
  • Outstanding Models from the Storehouse of Literature,[6] and
  • Models from the Archives.[7]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Johannes L. Kurz (2007). "The Compilation and Publication of the Taiping yulan and the Cefu yangui". Extrême Orient, Extrême Occident: 39–76.
  2. ^ Chen Sanping (2012). "Chapter 1". Multicultural China in the Early Middle Ages. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0812206289. Retrieved August 9, 2014. This Wikipedia article was created in 2006 and renamed in 2006 as Prime Tortoise of the Record Bureau.
  3. ^ Anderson, James (2007). The Rebel Den of Nung Tri Cao: Loyalty and Identity along the Sino-Vietnamese Frontier. University of Washington Press. p. 248. ISBN 978-9971-69-367-1. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  4. ^ Ng On-cho; Wang, Q. Edward (2005). Mirroring the Past: The Writing and Use of History in Imperial China. University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 9780824829131. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  5. ^ Terrill, Ross (2003). The New Chinese Empire: And What It Means for the United States. p. 287. ISBN 978-0-465-08412-8. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  6. ^ McBride, Richard D II (Fall 2006). Duncan, John; Shin Gi-Wook (eds.). "Is the Samguk yusa reliable?". The Journal of Korean Studies. 11 (1). ISBN 9781442234840. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  7. ^ Zurndorfer, Harriet T (2013). "Fifteen hundred years of the Chinese encyclopedia". In König, Jason; Woolf, Greg (eds.). Encyclopædism from Antiquity to the Renaissance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107470897. Retrieved August 9, 2014.


External links[edit]