An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Jin shuijing 今水經

Sep 18, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Jin shuijing 今水經 "Modern water classic", also called Xinshuijing 新水經, is a book on river geography compiled by the late Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Huang Zongxi 黃宗羲 (1610-1695). It was meant as an updated version to Li Daoyuan's 酈道元 (466 or 472-527) old Shuijingzhu 水經注 from the Northern Dynasties period 北朝 (386~581). Huang's book is interesting because it incudes rivers that were beyond the scope of people of the mid-1st millennium, especially those in northeast China.

The book begins with a list of all rivers (biao 表), arranged geographically, with River Huai 淮河 as the divide between south and north. The most interesting northern rivers are the Yellow River, Liao River 遼河, Yalu River 鴨綠江, Songhua River 松花江, Huntong River 混同江 (Heilongjiang 黑龍江, Amur) and River Wei 衛河, the most important southern rivers or waters the Yangtze River (Changjiang 長江), Lake Taihu 太湖, Zhe River 浙江, Zhang River 漳江, Yuan River 元江 and Lancang River 瀾滄江 (Mekong), altogether 259 waters. The text describes their courses from the well to the mouths by naming prefectures and districts through which they flow.

Huang's book is a rather factual report in contrast to Li Daoyuan's book which includes hundreds of local stories. He drew his information from sources of the Yuan 元 (1279-1368) and Ming periods, like the official dynastic history Yuanshi 元史 or the imperial geography Da-Ming yitong zhi 明一統志.

It was printed in 1863 by the Mingbian Studio 明辨齋 in Changsha 長沙, Hunan, and is included in the series Zhibuzuzhai congshu 知不足齋叢書, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 and Hubei congshu 湖北叢書.

Zhu Junjia 朱雋嘉 (2005). "Jinshuijing Zhenshui kaoshi 《今水經•湞水》考釋", Zhongguo lishi dili luncong 中國歷史地理論叢, 2005 (2).
Wang Zhaoming 王兆明, Fu Langyun 傅朗云, ed. (1991). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Dili 地理卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 52.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhjongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 136.