Friday, September 19, 2008

Treatise on Astrology of the Kaiyuan Era

The Treatise on Astrology of the Kaiyuan Era is a astrology encyclopedia compiled by the lead editor Gautama Siddha and numerous scholars from 714 to 724 AD during the Kaiyuan era of Tang Dynasty. The compilation is attributed to the author by 729. Its full title is regarded as the Great Tang Treatise on Astrology of the Kaiyuan Era. It is also referred to as the Kaiyuan Star Observations.

The book

The book is divided into 120 volumes and consisted of about 600,000 words. The compilation of writings had based on many previously astrological and divination materials, and probably a similar classic known as the ''Yisizhan'', compiled by Li Chunfeng approximately in 645. It incorporated many fragments works, including the star catalogues of Shi Shen and Gan De, and contained a translated version of Navagraha calendar under the chapter of 104. The astronomical table of by the and , Aryabhata, were also translated into the ''Kaiyuan Zhanjing''.

The manuscript had started to fade away in copies since the 10th century, but was over again received a special attention by scholar Cheng Mingshan in 1616 and was later included in the Siku Quanshu collections of the 18th century.

Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang

The Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang is a miscellany of and foreign legends and hearsay, reports on natural phenomena, short anecdotes, and tales of the wondrous and mundane, as well as notes on such topics as medicinal herbs and tattoos. ''Youyang'' refers to the south slope of Mount You, a small hill located in what is now . The book was written by Duan Chengshi in the 9th century, and is divided in to 30 volumes, containing unusually varied content in over thirteen hundred entries that describe the world that Duan Chengshi heard about, read of, or personally observed.

It contains a version of the classic fairy tale Cinderella, under the name ''Ye Xian'' in Chapter 21. The story was allegedly told by Duan's servant Li Shiyuan, a native from what is now Nanning. It is set during the late 3rd century BC. The exact location is unknown, but the most likely candidate is Guangxi, where the shoe eventually found its way to a king from an island.

Great Tang Records on the Western Regions

The Great Tang Records on the Western Regions is a narrative of Xuanzang's nineteen year journey through Chang'an to India between 626 and 645. It was compiled in 646 by Bianji, a disciple of Xuanzang, who spent more than one year editing the book through Xuanzang's dictation.

The book contain about 100,000 words and is divided into twelve volumes, which describe the geography, land and maritime transportation, climate, local products, people, language, history, politics, economic life, religion, culture, and customs in 110 countries, regions and city-states from present-day Xinjiang to Sri Lanka. It has considerable historical material on India, the condition of Buddhist monasteries at the time, and has a high historical value for its descriptions of Central Asia during the early seventh century.