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East Asia Library Guides: China

Chinese Studies Resources: Premodern Chinese Texts [Back to Table of Contents]

1. Siku Editions and Major Collectanea (congshu)

Si ku quan shu (四庫全書) is the major collection of premodern texts up to 18th century, with an annotated bibliography: Si ku quan shu zong mu ti yao (四庫全書總目提要). The electronic version of Si ku quan shu is available at Yale.

Two new editions aim at updating Si ku: Si ku quan shu cun mu cong shu (四庫全書存目叢書) includes titles mentioned in the Si ku catalog, but not included in the Si ku quan shu; Xu xiu si ku quan shu (續修四庫全書) includes Qing-dynasty works appearing after Si ku quan shu was compiled. All the Si ku titles have catalogs. There is also an online tool for searching titles within the Siku series.

Si bu cong kan (四部叢刊) , Si bu bei yao (四部備要) , and Cong shu ji cheng (叢書集成) are the major congshu titles for premodern texts.

To find individual titles within congshu, Zhongguo cong shu zong lu (中國叢書綜錄) is the standard tool. It was complemented by Zhongguo cong shu guang lu (中國叢書廣錄) and Zhongguo cong shu zong lu xu bian (中國叢書綜錄續編). All the three titles are in the East Asia Library Reference. Some online tools for identifying titles within congshu may be helpful: 百部叢書集成

2. Bibliographies of Individual Works

Yi wen zhi er shi zhong zong he yin de (藝文志二十種綜合引得) can be used to find a title in the dynastic bibliographies.

Fan shu ou ji (販書偶記)and Fan shu ou ji xu bian (販書偶記續編) can be used to find monographs appearing after the compilation of Si ku quan shu.

More specialized bibliographies are available. Rare books: Zhongguo gu ji shang ben shu mu (中國古籍善本書目).

3. Modern Punctuated Editions

Zhong hua shu ju (中华书局), as well as other specialized publishers in China, has published a number of proofread, punctuated editions of premodern texts. This includes the twenty-four histories (二十四史), and Qing shi gao(清史稿).

Scripta Sinica (中央研究院漢籍電子文獻)
Developed by Academic Sinica, Taiwan. It
is the largest Chinese full text database for the study of pre-modern China. It includes more than 500 titles and 350,000,000 characters of materials pertaining to the traditional Chinese classics, especially those related to Chinese history (such as 二十五史 and 十三经). IE recommended. Click on “ 授權使用 ” button to access the database.

CHANT (漢達文庫)
Provides access to transmitted texts and excavated texts from ancient China. The transmitted texts originated in the period from antiquity to late 6th century and cover the subjects of philology, classics, philosophy, literature, and science and technology. The excavated texts consist of oracle bone inscriptions from the Shang Dynasty and bamboo and silk manuscripts from the Han Dynasty.

4. Bibliographies

Classical Historiography for Chinese History
A bibliographic database developed by Benjamin Elman of Princeton University.