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Chinese Studies: Reference Works

A guide to resources for the study of China

Introduction to Reference Works on China

Subject Specific Encyclopedias, Handbooks, Specialized Dictionaries, Concordances, Research Aids

Encyclopedias & Handbooks

Encyclopedias are excellent resources for exploring research topics. Just looking at the table of contents or the index can spark an idea. Furthermore, reading a short introduction to a topic of interest, and then exploring the bibliography, can get you started on a satisfying research topic about which you have genuine interest.

Ebooks can be accessed with a click. Hard copies are located in the Social Science and Education Reference Stacks on Level 1. (Any help desk employee can assist you in finding these books).

Encyclopedia of Modern China, David Pong (ed.). 4 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, 2009. Ebook.

Accessing and searching this encyclopedia is a bit tricky. Follow these instructions:

(1) Click the link provided above, this will take you to Gale E-books "Advanced Search."

(2) Change search criteria from "Keywords" to "Publication Title" enter "Encyclopedia of Modern China."

(3) Click on the publication title link "Encyclopedia of Modern China" that appears in any entry that you see; this will take you to a search page for this 4 vol. work.

(4) Enter search terms in the box at the right of the screen that reads "Search within this publication."

Biography (Arranged Chronologically)

Art History

History of Contemporary Chinese Art 1949 to the Present (2020) by Zhou Yan. eBook.

Includes the following chapters:

  • Visual Utopia: Art in the Seventeen-Years (1949-1966)
  • Revolutionary Action: Art in the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)
  • Truth, Virtue and Beauty: Art in the Post-Cultural Revolution
  • Idealism and New Utopia: Avant-Garde Movement (1985-1989)
  •  Art under Impact of Globalization (1990-1999)
  • Institutionalization of Contemporary Art (2000-2015) 

Best Online Dictionaries & Dictionary Apps

Pleco

For your Chinese to English, English to Chinese, and Chinese to Chinese dictionary needs, I recommend that you download the Pleco App to your device. There are many excellent features and dictionaries that can be purchased within the App. 

Best Print Dictionaries (Located in Asian Reference)

Comprehensive Dictionaries (Multiple Volumes)

Hanyu da cidian  汉语大词典 (Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Words)

Asian Reference PL 1420 .H26 1987 (12 vols.)

Hanyu da zidian  汉语大字典 (Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Characters)

Asian Reference PL 1420 .H26 1986 (10 vols.)

Dai Kanwa jiten 大漢和辞典 (Morohashi)  Definitions in Japanese

Asian Reference PL 681.C5 M6 1966  (13 vols).     

Zhongwen da cidian 中文大辭典 (Comprehensive Chinese Dictionary)

Asian Reference PL 1420 .C57  (40 vols).

Cihai  辞海 (Sea of Words)

Asian Reference PL 1420 .T86 1979 (3 vols.)

Atlases of China

Digital Collections

Digital Collections for Chinese Studies Over 100 collections of digitized materials with collection locations mapped to an interactive map. You can search for institutions with collections by clicking on a location. There are also many ways to limit search criteria. Organized and maintained by George Washington University under the leadership of Yan He. To suggest a collection to add see this site.