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Located Imagination – India in the Shuijing zhu 水經注 of Li Daoyuan 酈道元 (?– 527)

Jörg H. Hüsemann

Pages 149 - 172


The Shuijing zhu 水經注 was compiled by the Northern Wei 北撱
(386–534) official Li Daoyuan 酈道元 (?– 527) between 515 and 524 as a commentary
on the Shuijing 水經, a text of geographical content most likely
finished shortly after the Three Kingdoms 三國(220–265) period. During the roughly
two centuries that had passed from the completion of the
Shuijing until the writing of the commentary, geographical
knowledge had grown significantly. In particular, the spread of Buddhism in
China by Indian and Central Asian monks, as well as Chinese monks who had
travelled to India, increased knowledge of the Buddhist kingdoms. This new
information posed a problem: on the one hand, Li Daoyuan could not ignore it,
but on the other hand, as a commentator, he could not take too much freedom and
simply add it to the text he commented on. In this article I will analyse which
sources he used for editing the geography of India and how he integrated this
new knowledge into his commentary while still remaining faithful to the
framework of the Shuijing.


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