Yongle da dian
The Great Standard of Yongle
or Encyclopedia Maxima
These volumes constitute five of the surviving 400 volumes of the original
Yongle da dian, the Encyclopedia Maxima, bearing the emperor
(1402-1424) reign name. The original edition of this large work was comprised
of 917,480 pagesin 11,100 bound volumes
divided into 22,877 sections .
Produced by a commission of over two thousand scholars in 1408, it purported
to record all knowledge of the Confucian canon, Buddhism, history, philosophy,
astronomy, geography, medicine, and the arts. The subject headings are
written on the outer edges of the pages. Although a printed edition was
intendedindeed, the Chinese had been printing block books since
the tenth centurymultiple production of such a massive text proved
prohibitive. Instead, two manuscript copies were made in 1567.
In the 17th century, the original and one copy of the text
were lost in a fire. Then, during the Boxer Rebellion (the Siege of Peking)
in 1900, the Han-Lin Academy, where the first copy had been housed since
the late Ming dynasty, was set on fire. Its libraryalong with the
Yongle da dianwas almost entirely destroyed.
Gift of Charles Wason.
© 2002 Division of Rare & Manuscript
2B Carl A. Kroch Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853
Phone Number: (607) 255-3530. Fax Number: (607) 255-9524
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