The Gujin Tushu Jicheng (simplified Chinese: 古今图书集成; traditional Chinese: 古今圖書集成; pinyin: Gǔjīn Túshū Jíchéng; Wade–Giles: Ku-chin t'u-shu chi-ch'eng; literally: 'Complete Collection of Illustrations and Writings from the Earliest to Current Times'), also known as the Imperial Encyclopaedia, is a vast encyclopedic work written in China during the reigns of the Qing Dynasty emperors Kangxi and Yongzheng. It was begun in 1700 and completed in 1725. The work was headed initially by scholar Chen Menglei (陳夢雷), and later by Jiang Tingxi.
The encyclopaedia contained 10,000 volumes. Sixty-four imprints were made of the first edition, known as the Wu-ying Hall edition. The encyclopaedia consisted of 6 series, 32 divisions, and 6,117 sections. It contained 800,000 pages and over 100 million Chinese characters. Topics covered included natural phenomena, geography, history, literature and government. The work was printed in 1726 using copper movable type printing. It spanned around 10 thousand rolls (卷). To illustrate the huge size of the Gujin Tushu Jicheng, it is estimated to have contained 3 to 4 times the amount of material in the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition.
The Emperor of China presented a set of the encyclopaedia in 5,000 fascicles to the China Society of London, which has deposited it on loan to Cambridge University Library. A complete copy in Japan was destroyed in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake.
One of Yongzheng's brothers patronised the project for a while, although Yongzheng contrived to give exclusive credit to his father Kangxi instead.
The 32 subdivisions are as follows.
Note that a pre-modern sense is intended in both "society" (that is, high society) and "economy" (which could be called "society" today), and the other major divisions do not match precisely to English terms.
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