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A primarily investigation into reasons of emergence of geographical monographs in the Tang Dynasty

Yang Wenhen (CAS, Beijing)

Five factors related to the appearance of geographical monographs in the Tang Dynasty are investigated in this paper.

First, the accumulation of the knowledge about the mineral based on alchemy, mining and medicine led to the appearance of mineralogical monogaph. Believing in Taoism and pursuing to the elixirs of life, alchemy activity was very prosperous in the Sui-Tang Dynasties. Mineral materials for alchemy were sent to refine place from everywhere under emperor's instruction. The course of searching for the mineral materials was the course of the accumulation of mineralogical knowledge. The development of mining and mineral drugs used in medicine in the Tang Dynasty stimulated the progress in mineralogical knowledge, hence, mineralogical monographs, such as Jing Shi Bu Wu Jiu Shu Jiu and Shi Yao Er Ya were published.

Second, the great unification in politics helped the occurence of general geographical records and historical geographical monographs.

Third, needs for the knowledge of meteorology and map in military and agriculture brought forth the meteorological monographs and maps.

Fourth, for navigation activities and precautions against sea disaster, come the monographs about tide.

Fifth, the intercourse between China and the abroad led into the boom of the geographical books about foreign countries.

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