Chinese Classics

This collection of valuable Chinese Classics which enjoys long history, including a amount of original editions and their easily available versions reprinted in existing facsimile-form, block-prints, transcripts and lithographs.

Preface: Chinese classic texts or canonical texts refers to the Chinese texts which originated before the imperial unification by the Qin dynasty in 221 BC, particularly the “Four Books and Five Classics” of the Neo-Confucian tradition, themselves a customary abridgment of the “Thirteen Classics”. All of these pre-Qin texts were written in classical Chinese. All three canons are collectively known as the classics.

Chinese classic texts may more broadly refer to texts written either in vernacular Chinese or in the classical Chinese that was current until the fall of the last imperial dynasty, the Qing, in 1912. These can include shi (, historical works), zi (, philosophical works belonging to schools of thought other than the Confucian but also including works on agriculture, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, divination, art criticism, and other miscellaneous writings) and ji (, literary works) as well as jing. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Four Books and Five Classics were the subject of mandatory study by those Confucian scholars who wished to take the imperial exams to become government officials. Any political discussion was full of references to this background, and one could not be one of the literati (or, in some periods, even a military officer) without having memorized them. Generally, children first memorized the Chinese characters of the “Three Character Classic” and the “Hundred Family Surnames” and then went on to memorize the other classics. The literate elite therefore shared a common culture and set of values.

Scholarship on these texts naturally divides itself into two periods, before and after the burning of the books during the fall of the Qin dynasty, when many of the original pre-Qin texts were lost.

List of Free Sources:

World Digital Library

The World Digital Library (WDL) is an international digital library operated by UNESCO and the United States Library of Congress.

The WDL has stated that its mission is to promote international and intercultural understanding, expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet, provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences, and to build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and among countries. It aims to expand non-English and non-western content on the Internet, and contribute to scholarly research. The library intends to make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials.

The WDL opened with 1,236 items. As of late 2015 it lists more than 12,000 items from nearly 200 countries, dating back to 8,000 BCE.


Internet Archive

Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more.


Forgotten Books

Forgotten Books is the world’s largest online library with 484,473 books available on demand. This website has been designed using the very latest technologies to provide our members with many features never seen before. Its flagship technology Intelligent Bookshelf™ is a world leader in book recommendation and uses artificial intelligence to determine exactly the books you’d most like to read from our vast library.

More than just books; Forgotten Books also features advanced analytical data. Every single word, page and image inside each and every one of our 484,473 books have been analyzed, indexed and classified. With this valuable research information, we can tell you virtually anything about anything, from the most commonly used word in fiction books published in 1765, to the book with the most images of cats in the first 20 pages. Or perhaps some more useful information, such as a list of every word in the English language in order of usage frequency.


Chinese Text Project

The Chinese Text Project is an online open-access digital library that makes pre-modern Chinese texts available to readers and researchers all around the world. The site attempts to make use of the digital medium to explore new ways of interacting with these texts that are not possible in print. With over twenty thousand titles and more than three billion characters, the Chinese Text Project is also one of the largest databases of pre-modern Chinese texts in existence.

You may wish to read more about the project, view the pre-Qin and Han, post-Han or Wiki tables of contents, or consult the instructions, FAQ, or list of tools. If you’re looking for a particular Chinese text, you can search for texts by title across the main textual sections of the site.


Internet Sacred Text Archive

Sacred texts went live on March 9th, 1999. This site is a freely available archive of electronic texts about religion, mythology, legends and folklore, and occult and esoteric topics. Texts are presented in English translation and, where possible, in the original language.


Online Books by Legge, James (1815-1897)

James Legge (Chinese: 理雅各; 20 December 1815 – 29 November 1897) was a noted Scottish sinologist, a Scottish Congregationalist, representative of the London Missionary Society in Malacca and Hong Kong (1840–1873), and first Professor of Chinese at Oxford University (1876–1897). In association with Max Müller he prepared the monumental Sacred Books of the East series, published in 50 volumes between 1879 and 1891.


CHINAKNOWLEDGE – a universal guide for China studies provides information about Chinese history and culture to a wide public, from academicians and highschool pupils to the interested “layman”. The Chinaknowledge encyclopedia contributed by Dr. phil. Ulrich Theobald (田宇利) and his team, systematically use the modern Hanyu pinyin 漢語拼音 transcription, except for some names which are commonly known with other transcriptions in the West (like Chiang Kai-shek, Taipeh or Hong Kong. Beijing is Peking.). Except in tables concerning the People’s Republic of China they consistently use the correct traditional characters (fantizi 繁體字).


CHANT (CHinese ANcient Texts) / 汉达文库

CHANT (CHinese ANcient Texts) / 汉达文库, Chinese University of Hong Kong – Large corpus of texts, all carefully entered and proofread, but requires paid subscription. Now uses Unicode for characters wherever possible.

Established in April 2005, forerunner of the Research Centre for Chinese Ancient Texts is the Chinese Ancient Texts (CHANT) Database Project that began in 1988 at the Institute of Chinese Studies. Its goals are to build up an electronic database of the entire corpus of traditional and excavated ancient Chinese texts, to conduct relevant researches, and to publish the findings via different media.


Scripta Sinica / 汉籍电子文献

Scripta Sinica / 汉籍电子文献, Academia Sinica (Taiwan) – Uses nonstandard fonts to display rarely used characters. Accessing most of the content requires paid subscription; access restrictions can be frustrating for non-subscription users as these are either poorly documented or unreliable, and in some cases limit access to less than a single chapter of even a single text – even for those texts included in the free version.


Thesaurus Linguae Sericae

Thesaurus Linguae Sericae, University of Oslo – Subtitled “An Historical and Comparative Encyclopaedia of Chinese Conceptual Schemes”. Ambitious site which includes much information about words and their semantic and syntactic properties. Extensive and powerful, it has a steep learning curve.

General Editor: Christoph Harbsmeier 何莫邪; Associate Editor: Jiang Shaoyu 蔣紹愚


China the Beautiful

Initial publication date of China the Beautiful is 2-15-1994. It covers Classical Chinese Art, Calligraphy, Poetry, History, Literature, Painting and Philosophy, edited by a Board of Advisers and Contributing writers.


The Harvard Classics / Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf

The Harvard Classics, originally known as Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, is a 51-volume anthology of classic works from world literature, compiled and edited by Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot and first published in 1909. The most comprehensive and well-researched anthology of all time comprises both the 50-volume “5-foot shelf of books” and the the 20-volume Shelf of Fiction. Together they cover every major literary figure, philosopher, religion, folklore and historical subject through the twentieth century.n 1910, Dr. Charles W. Eliot, then President of Harvard University, put together an extraordinary library of “all the books needed for a real education.”


Free ebooks by Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg offers over 50,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online.

We carry high quality ebooks: All our ebooks were previously published by bona fide publishers. We digitized and diligently proofread them with the help of thousands of volunteers.

Over 100,000 free ebooks are available through our Partners, Affiliates and Resources.



国学大师网收录大量国学经典电子资源。“国学”是对中国学术的简称,“大师”系指人们对在学问或艺术上有很深造诣者的尊称,“国学大师”则是指其学问在“国学”研究之范围内属于出类拔萃者。同时,“国学大师”不能光看其学问,还要看其道德即人品、文品,看其文品与人品是否统一,即是否属于融人品与文品于一体的“道德文章”者流。以此衡量,近现代的“国学大师” 当首推梁启超、章太炎、马一浮、陈寅恪、钱穆和钱钟书。另外也有同名软件《国学大师》,古典图书集成《国学大师》集成古典图书2万种28万卷约24亿字。


The Harvard Dictionary of Music

The Harvard Dictionary of Music (Harvard University Press Reference Library)


Recommended List

All ancient books which have once been called sacred by man, will have their lasting place in the history of mankind, and those who possess the courage, the perseverance, and the self-denial of the true miner, and of the true scholar, will find even in the darkest and dustiest shafts what they are seeking for,–real nuggets of thought, and precious jewels of faith and hope.

— Max Müller (Introduction to the Upanishads Vol. II.)