A couple of years ago I posted about a book that is essential for understanding Vietnamese history which very few people have read or even know about, the An Nam chí nguyên/Annan zhiyuan 安南志原.
Compiled during the Ming occupation, it has been ignored by Vietnamese scholars because it is “Chinese.” However, in reality, it is an incredibly valuable source because it shows us what information the Ming felt was important to record about the Red River Delta.
What were the important sacred sites at that time? Which mountains were worth noting? Why?
All of this (and much more) is fascinating and deserves our attention, but a lot of the information in this text does not neatly fit with the information that we today take for granted, and that opens up a space to ask many questions about the past, as well as about how information about the past has been transformed in modern times.
For people who cannot read classical Chinese, they will probably have to wait a long time before this work is translated into modern Vietnamese or some other language, but for those who can read classical Chinese, here is the text: