The Yongle Encyclopedia is Completed

The Yongle Encyclopedia (traditional Chinese: 永樂大典; simplified Chinese: 永乐大典; pinyin: Yǒnglè Dàdiǎn; literally “The Great Canon or Vast Documents of the Yongle Era”) was a Chinese compilation commissioned by the Chinese Ming Dynasty emperor Yongle in 1403 and completed by 1408. It was then the world's largest known general encyclopedia, and one of the earliest.

Two thousand scholars worked on the project under the direction of the Yongle Emperor (reigned 1402–1424), incorporating eight thousand texts from ancient times up to the early Ming Dynasty. They covered an array of subjects, including agriculture, art, astronomy, drama, geology, history, literature, medicine, natural sciences, religion, and technology, as well as descriptions of unusual natural events. The Encyclopedia, which was completed in 1408 at Nanjing Guozijian (南京國子監; the ancient Nanjing University - Nanjing Imperial Central College), comprised 22,877 or 22,937 manuscript rolls, or chapters in 11,095 volumes occupying roughly 40 cubic metres (1400 ft³) and using 50 million Chinese characters. It was designed to include all that had ever been written on the Confucian canon, history, philosophy, and the arts and sciences. It was a massive collation of excerpts and works from the mass of Chinese literature and knowledge.