An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Yuanshi xinbian 元史新編

Mar 11, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Yuanshi xinbian 元史新編 "Newly compiled history of the Yuan dynasty" is a history of the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) written by the Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) historian Wei Yuan 魏源 (1794-1857). Wei Yuan compiled the geographical treatise Haiguo tuzhi 海國圖志 and was a representative of the scholars that advocated to learn from the West in order to be able to control the West.

The 95-juan long Yuanshi xinbian is a new history of the Yuan period and was meant as a substitute for the older official dynastic history Yuanshi 元史. It consists of imperial biographies (ji 紀), normal and collective biographies (zhuan 傳), tables (biao 表) and treatises (zhi 志). Wei Yuan made use of the material provided by the Yuanshi and enriched it with additional sources, like the Yuanchao mishi 元朝秘史 "Secret history of the Yuan", the administrative history Yuan dianzhang 元典章, the literary collection Yuanwenlei 元文類 and many other private writings of persons from that period of time.

Wei Yuan's main focus was on the first decades of the Mongol rulers, to which he added a lot of informations not included in the Yuanshi. A part of special interest is the information he provides about contemporary India, in order to give a glimpse of the Mongol empire's western flanks.

The book was printed in 1905 by Master Wei's 魏氏 own Shenwei Studio 慎微堂. In 1936 the Shanghai Shuju Press 上海書局 published a modern print.

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Zhou Weizhou 周偉洲, Ding Jingtai 丁景泰, ed. (2006). Sichou zhi lu da cidian 絲綢之路大辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 770.