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Early Printing In China Viewed From The Perspective Of Local Gazetteers

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Chapter Summary

Local gazetteers are a rich source for scholars of Chinese book history. This chapter examines the ways in which pre-1400 local gazetteers were initiated, compiled, financed, printed, supplemented, lost, and recompiled, mostly by Chinese, but also by Mongols and Central Asians. In the process, it is seen that government officials and local elites valued gazetteers, printing was normative for gazetteers by the Southern Song, and their production continued to expand during the Yuan and early Ming. Gazetteers were never a manuscript-only genre. Even before the emergence of gazetteers, map guides were being printed. To publish a local gazetteer one needed money for labor and materials. Data on the costs of producing pre-1400 gazetteers is extremely limited, even compared to the modest amount known for the middle and late Ming.

Keywords: Central Asians; late imperial China; local gazetteers; Mongol; production costs; Southern song printing



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