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Siku Quanshu

Last Updated: Aug 25, 2022 5:25 PM

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Remote access to this resource requires a UBITName and password.

Special Note

The Relationship Between Complete Chinese Classics and Siku Quanshu: The Qingding Gujin Tushu Jicheng (traditional Chinese: 清定古今圖書集成; simplified Chinese: 清定古今图书集成; pinyin: Qīngding Gǔjīn Tushū Jicheng; literally: "Complete Collection of Illustrations and Writings from the Earliest to Current Times, as Designated by the Qing Dynasty") is a vast encyclopedia commissioned by the Emperor Kangxi and completed during the reign of his son Yongzheng in 1725. The two lead editors were Chen Menglei (陳夢雷) (1651-1741) and Jiang Tingxi (蔣廷錫) (1669-1732). It contains 800,000 pages and over 100 million Chinese characters spanning 10,000 silk rolls. It completely pwn3d its closest predecessor, the Yongle Encyclopedia, which contained a paltry 50 million Chinese characters. Unfortunately, 50 years later, it was pwn3d again, this time by Qianlong, Yongzheng's son, who commissioned the Siku Quanshu in 1773 and saw it completed in 1782. The Siku Quanshu was a work approaching absurdity: it took 3,826 copyists 9 years to transcribe the 3,461 books into 36,381 volumes with 79,000 chapters, comprising 2.3 million pages, and 800 million characters." Taken from:


This encyclopedic resource is translated as the “Complete Library of the Four Treasuries.”  It is the complete collection of the Qing Dynasty imperial library. The collection includes 3,461 books in 36,381 volumes, with more than 79,000 chapters, comprising about 2.3 million pages.   The project began in 1773 and was completed in 1782.  The Four Treasuries refer to the four conventional branches or classes of literature: the Classics, History, Philosophy, and Literature.  Disciplinary coverage ranges from the humanities to science, technology, and more.

For additional background on the complicated cultural and political history of this effort  see the Wikipedia entry:


Adapted from vendor communication: From the URL above, users are able to download the client program software (setup.exe), the Client Program Installation Guide and the Client Program User Manual.   Both are available in either Chinese or English.  Please note that this client program is necessary to access the database, and there is no direct access URL that can be referenced. Using a different web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, is not available, since the database contains archaic Chinese characters not included in the current Unicode standard.

Once the client program is installed, users can open the program on their pc, select "IP Login", and gain access to the database if coming from a registered IP address. Please note also that at this time ezproxy access is not supported by this database. If an authorized user would like to access it from off campus this institutional login and password is linked to your IP account: Buffalo2016/Buffalo16 (enter these in the fields located above the "IP Login" button mentioned above).   Login: Buffalo2016 and Password: Buffalo16.

Currently, the database is not compatible with Apple operating systems, but it will work on Apple computers running Windows parallels programs.  The Installation Guide available at contains very important information regarding the technical requirements for user's pc, especially required language packages. 

Searching Tips

From:  Title, author, main content (本文), commentaries (譯注), and heading (標題), can be searched under the Full-text Search 全文檢索 tab by selecting one or more search categories under 檢索範圍. Searches can be limited to parts of the collection under 四庫類目. Search keyword(s) can be further refined to correlate with simplified with traditional characters, variations of a character, ancient and modern formats, and Chinese and Japanese forms at the same time (use the 關聯字設定). The results display includes the Siku hierarchy classification, as well as titles and specific volume and session where the search term was found. The entire content can be browsed by clicking on the 類目瀏覽 tab and choosing a specific title to view. Various Siku reference dictionaries provide additional information on authors and titles. Actual text may be opened in a new page by double clicking on the highlight title or session. The text can be viewed in text format (arranged according to original layout), as a scanned image, or both side by side. All PDF functions are available to manipulate the text, highlight, copy and paste, bookmark, and notes.

Dates Covered

5,000 years of Chinese culture.

Humanities Librarian

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Molly Poremski
423 Lockwood Library
(716) 645-7750