By Akerele Christabel 4:11 pm PST

The world’s largest encyclopedia is the Yongle Canon, a vast Chinese encyclopedia compiled during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Commissioned by the Yongle Emperor, the encyclopedia is one of the most comprehensive works of its kind, containing over 22,000 volumes of texts and illustrations. Compiled over six years, the Yongle Canon is considered to be one of the greatest accomplishments of the Ming dynasty.

The Yongle Canon is the world’s largest surviving encyclopedia from the pre-modern period. It provides a comprehensive view of Chinese culture and history from the time of its compilation, allowing readers to gain a better understanding of the period. Its vast collection of texts and illustrations covers a wide range of topics, including history, geography, science, philosophy, literature, and more.

The Yongle Emperor, Zhu Di, was a major contributor to the creation of the Yongle Canon. He ordered the compilation of a comprehensive collection of all existing Chinese books, which was to be called the Yongle Encyclopedia. The Emperor even provided funds to pay for the compilation of the texts. He also ordered the compilation of a new set of texts, the Yongle Canon, which would include the most important and influential works in Chinese history. The Yongle Emperor also funded the creation of a new set of dictionaries and encyclopedias, which become part of the Yongle Canon. He also sent out imperial commissioners to gather books from all over China to be included in the Canon.

The emperor also issued an edict that all books in the Canon should be printed and distributed, helping to make the texts more widely available.

Timeline of The Creation of The Yongle Canon

1403–1407: The Yongle Emperor orders the compilation of the Yongle Canon. He appoints a team of scholars to compile the information and sets up a special printing facility in Nanjing.

1407–1409: The scholars compile and edit the texts for the Yongle Canon. They select and edit more than 2,000 books from various sources, including ancient texts, commentaries, and historical records.

1409–1415: The text of the Yongle Canon is printed and bound into the finished book. Each volume is printed using movable type and bound in a special binding.

1415: The Yongle Canon is completed. It contains more than 11,000 chapters and is over 10,000 pages long.

1421: The Yongle Emperor dies. The Yongle Canon is placed in the Imperial Library of the Forbidden City and becomes an important part of Chinese culture and history.

Today: The Yongle Canon is still an important part of Chinese culture and history. Many of its texts and ideas are still studied and discussed by Chinese scholars. It is also an important source of information for anyone interested in Chinese culture and history.

The Impact of the Canon On Pre-Modern China.

The Yongle Canon had a huge impact on pre-modern China. It was a massive compilation of Chinese literature, history, philosophy, and other works, and it was the first Chinese encyclopedia compiled under the auspices of the imperial government. It became an authoritative source of knowledge and was used as a reference in almost all aspects of life in pre-modern China. It was also an important part of the Chinese education system, and it was used to teach Confucian values and Chinese Classics. The Yongle Canon helped to shape the cultural identity of pre-modern China and was a key factor in forming the Chinese worldview.

Impact of the Yongle Canon

The canon, with its compilation of Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist texts, covers a wide range of topics including philosophy, literature, politics, and religion, and is seen as a watershed moment in the development of Chinese culture.

The Yongle Canon has had a profound impact on modern China. It has been used as a reference for Chinese history, literature, and philosophy for hundreds of years. The canon has had a major influence on Chinese thought, informing the beliefs and values of generations of Chinese people. Many of the ideas and practices in the canon have been adopted by modern Chinese society, and the canon has been credited with helping to shape Chinese culture, values, and beliefs.

The Yongle Canon also helped to create a unified Chinese state. By compiling and organizing the vast array of Chinese texts, the canon helped to create a shared cultural heritage and a sense of national identity. This sense of unified identity has been a major factor in the integration of China into the modern world.