SIMA GUANG 1019 - 1086  (W1)

xxxxxA Chinese scholar and statesman of the Sung Dynasty, Sima Guang (Ssu-ma Kuang) was commissioned by the Emperor Ying Zong to make "a record of events, rulers and ministers in successive ages" and it took him and a small band of dedicated assistants over sixteen years to complete the task. The work, finished in 1083, was entitled the Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government and covered - would you believe it - a history of China from 403BC to 959AD - over thirteen hundred years!

xxxxxThis work was a purely historical document, of course, but the fact that it was written "for aid in Government" must bring to mind the Domesday Book of this period, a survey of England's wealth, completed by the Normans in 1086 "for aid in Government" of their newly-acquired kingdom.


Sima Guang: date and artist unknown – National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan.