An English Translation of the Datang xiyu ji

  • An English Translation of the Datang xiyu ji
  • 'Si-Yu-Ki - Buddhist Records of the Western World' - a machine-readable transcription

Distributed by the University of Oxford under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Editorial Practice

Encoding format: TEI XML

This valid XML file uses markup according to the TEI-standard. We have tagged pagebreaks, paragraphs, units of "book" (div1) and subtitles in a book (div2). "anchor"-elements point to a footnote (all footnotes have been moved to the end of the text). "xref"-elements point to the corresponding passage in the (Chinese) original.

In general, the digital text follows the printed version closely. Nevertheless, we decided on the following changes:

1. In cases where words were separated over two pages, the "pb" was shifted to the left of the first part, so that the word as a whole appears on the second page.

2. As a rule, Sanskrit and Chinese words were compared with the index. In the case of discrepancy, we tried to decide the "right" spelling according to Monier-Williams and the Taisho edition (using Beal's romanization).

2.1 Changes regarding Sanskrit romanization:

2.1.1 Disregard the o and e-macron in Sanskrit words.

2.1.2 Delete the ibreve and icaron after all rdotblw.

2.1.3 Names like Nepal, Kabul, Peshawar, and Kashmir as they have entered modern English usage.

2.2 Changes regarding Chinese romanization:

2.2.1 All diacritica were disregarded except the apostrophe. Where necessary, the half ring above (caron) that Beal used (inconsistently) to indicate the third tone was rendered.

2.2.2 Frequent silent corrections were made in the names of the country, i.e. we used Beal's way of transliterating the country names as they appear in the Taisho (e.g. "Ma-ti-pu-lo" to "Mo-ti-pu-lo" in Book04; or "Ki-li-si-mo" to "Ki-li-pi-mo" in Book 12). The printed text is amazingly inconsistent here, it seemed desirable to unify the names, taking the risk that the Chinese edition Beal used might have been slightly different.

3. The archaisms "to-day" and "to-morrow" were converted to "today" and "tomorrow".

4. A number of obvious printing mistakes were silently corrected (e.g. "published" to "punished" (Book04, p.169)). Missing brackets and quotation marks were closed.

5. All of Beal's square brackets in the text were converted to round brackets, reserving square brackets for our editorial comments.

6. All Greek quotations in Beal's footnotes were transliterated to Latin script according to the "Perseus transliteration system for Greek" as devised by the Perseus project (

7. All passages in italics were rendered in normal script. Where clarity made it desirable, quotation marks were inserted.

8. All "Additions and Corrections" at the end of vol. I (p.241-242) concerning the Xiyuji were incorporated into the note apparatus. Also the larger notes appended at the end of Books 8 and 11 were inserted into the appropriate "note"s.

OTA keywords

Ancient religious texts

LC keywords

Buddhism -- China
Travelers, Chinese
Asia, Central -- Historical geography
India -- Historical geography

  • designation: CollectionText
  • size: 4 files : ca. 3.12 MB
Creation Date


Source Description

Si-yu-ki : Buddhist records of the western world / translated from the Chinese of Hiuen Tsiang (A. D. 629) by Samuel Beal — Buddhist records of the western world : 2nd Print Oriental Book Reprint Corporation New Delhi: 1983-01-01 :

Note: Originally published by Trübner and Co.: London, 1884.


Mode of access: Online. OTA website

The travelogue of the monk Xuanzang (600-664) recounts his journey via Central Asia to India from c.627-645 and preserves invaluable information on the society and religion of the polities he visited. Together with the records of Faxian (c.320-420) and Yijing (635-713), Xuanzang's travelogue is the most detailed description of ancient India and Central Asia we have. Samuel Beal's translation of the Datang xiyu ji by the monk Xuanzang, was one of the early important breakthroughs in Asian studies. His detailed annotations reflect the highest standard of 19th century scholarship and have served generations of researchers.

Markup and editorial practices are designed to enable parallel reading with the Chinese original as provided in the Taisho edition.

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