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Book/Printed Material San guo zhi tu xiang 三國志圖像

About this Item


  • San guo zhi tu xiang

Other Title

  • 三國志圖像

Translated Title

  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms in Illustrations


  • Sanguo yan yi (Romance of the Three Kingdoms), written by Luo Guanzhong (circa 1330--1400), a late-Yuan and early-Ming author, is a historical novel set in the third century, in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history. The part-historical, part-legendary, and part-mythical story chronicles the lives of feudal lords and their retainers, who vied with each other to restore or replace the declining Han Dynasty. The novel follows literally hundreds of characters, with plots, personal and army battles, intrigues, and struggles, but its focus is mainly on the three power blocs that emerged from the remnants of the Han Dynasty and eventually formed the states of Wei, Shu, and Wu. With a total of 800,000 words and nearly 1,000 dramatic characters, in 120 chapters, it is acclaimed as one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature and is widely read in China. There have been numerous editions, and during the Ming and Qing dynasties book merchants brought out illustrated versions to boost sales. At the time, few people could read, even among the middle class, and illustrated books thus were highly popular. The 240 illustrations in this 120-chapter work are exquisitely produced. Each chapter has a two-sentence title, which is also the title of the illustration. The book was printed with the woodblocks of Dakuitang workshop. The title is placed above the frame and the chapter number in the middle portion. Preceding the illustrations is a preface written in 1644 by Jin Renrui (1608--61), a late Ming and early Qing literary critic who changed his name Renrui to Shengtan (Deep sigh) after the fall of the Ming dynasty. Mao Shengshan, Jin's contemporary and a fellow literary critic, added commentaries and punctuation. Jin greatly admired ancient books and often referred to them as works by and for men of genius. Together with others, he was executed in 1661 for "treasonous conduct," his property confiscated, and his family banished to Manchuria.


  • Luo, Guangzhong, approximately 1330-1400 Author

Created / Published

  • [Place of publication not identified] : [Publisher not identified], [1644 to 1735]


  • -  China
  • -  220 B.C. to 265
  • -  Chinese literature
  • -  Three kingdoms, 220-265


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 4 volumes : 240 illustrations ; 19.4 x 13.9 centimeters.
  • -  Original resource at: National Central Library.
  • -  Content in Chinese.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.
  • -  Title revised per Asian Division.--cc28 2023-01-06


  • 1 online resource.

Source Collection

  • Chinese Books, Manuscripts, Maps, and Prints

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021666371

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

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Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Luo, Guangzhong, Approximately Author. San Guo Zhi Tu Xiang. [Place of publication not identified: Publisher not identified, to 1735, 1644] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Luo, G. (1644) San Guo Zhi Tu Xiang. [Place of publication not identified: Publisher not identified, to 1735] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Luo, Guangzhong, Approximately Author. San Guo Zhi Tu Xiang. [Place of publication not identified: Publisher not identified, to 1735, 1644] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.