An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Manshu 蠻書

Jul 12, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Manshu 蠻書 "Book of the Man barbarians", also known as Yunnan zhi 雲南志 "Local gazeteer of Yunnan", Nanyi zhi 南夷志 "Treatise on the Southern barbarians", and other names, is a geographical description of China's remote southwest during the Tang period 唐 (618-907). The book, divided into 10 juan or fascles, was compiled by Fan Chuo 樊綽 (late 9th cent.) who was sent as regulatory commissioner (jinglüeshi 經略使) of Annan 安南 (today's Vietnam) to control the border between the Tang empire and the kingdom of Nanzhao 南詔, which was located in the modern province of Yunnan.

Based on his experience when trying to keep down the quarrels between the king of Nanzhao and the chieftains in the north of Annan, Fan compiled a book which he wanted to see as a supplement of Wang Tongming's 王通明 now lost book Guangyiji 廣異記 "Comprehensive account of strange things". Fan's encyclopaedic report about the region of Nanzhao is of immeasurable value for our knowledge about China's southwest and its inhabitants. The book was lost at the beginning of the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) but is preserved under the title of Yunnan shiji 雲南史記 "A history of Yunnan" in the encyclopaedia Yongle dadian 永樂大典 from which it found its way into different reprint series (the most widespread of which might the be Zhibuzuzhai congshu 知不足齋叢書), some of which abbreviated the complete text. Modern editions are based on Fang Guoyu's 方國瑜 (1903-1983) critical edition.>/p>

The standard edition is the annotated book by Xiang Da 向達, published in 1962 by the Zhonghua Book Company 中華書局.

Table 1. Contents of the Manshu 蠻書
1. 雲南界内途程 Roads to and in Yunnan
2. 山川江源 Mountains and Rivers
3. 六詔 The six Zhao tribes
4. 名類 Names and designations
5. 六瞼 The six Jian tribes
6. 雲南城鎭 Cities of Yunnan
7. 雲南管内物産 Local products
8. 蠻夷風俗 Customs and habits of the Man savages
9. 南蠻條敎 Teachings and laws of the southern savages
10. 南蠻疆界接連諸蕃夷國名 The adjacent barbarian polities
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