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Britnell writes of gazetteers in Ming China, "by the sixteenth century, for a county or monastery not to have a gazetteer was regarded as evidence that the place was inconsequential".  While working in the Department of Arms, the Tang dynasty cartographer Jia Dan (730–805) and his colleagues would acquire information from foreign envoys about their respective homelands, and from these interrogations would produce maps supplemented by textual information.  Even within China, ethnographic information on ethnic minorities of non- Han peoples were often described in the local histories and gazetteers of provinces such as Guizhou during the Ming and Qing dynasties.  As the Qing dynasty pushed further with its troops and government authorities into areas of Guizhou that were uninhabited and not administered by the Qing government, the official gazetteers of the region would be revised to include the newly drawn-up districts and non-Han ethnic groups (mostly Miao peoples ) therein.  While the late Ming dynasty officials who compiled the information on the ethnic groups of Guizhou offered scanty details about them in their gazetteers (perhaps due to their lack of contact with these peoples), the later Qing dynasty gazetteers often provided a much more comprehensive analysis.  By 1673 the Guizhou gazetteers featured different written entries for the various Miao peoples of the region.  Historian Laura Holsteter writes on the woodblock print illustrations of Miao peoples in the Guizhou gazeteer, stating "the 1692 version of the Kangxi era gazetteer show a refinement in the quality of the illustrations by comparison to 1673".  Historian Timothy Brook states that Ming dynasty gazetteers demonstrate a shift in the attitudes of Chinese gentry towards the traditionally lower merchant class.  As time went on, the gentry solicited funds from merchants to build and repair schools, print scholarly books, build Chinese pagodas on auspicious sites, and other things that were needed by the gentry and scholar-officials in order to succeed.  Hence, the gentry figures composing the gazetteers in the latter half of the Ming period spoke favorably of merchants, whereas before they were rarely mentioned.  Brook and other modern sinologist historians also examine and consult the local Ming gazetteers to compare population info with the contemporary central government records, which often provided dubious population figures that did not reflect the actually larger population size of China during the time.  Although better known for his work on the Gujin Tushu Jicheng encyclopedia, the early-to-mid Qing scholar Jiang Tingxi aided other scholars in the compilation of the "Daqing Yitongzhi" ('Gazetteer of the Qing Empire').  This was provided with a preface in 1744 (more than a decade after Jiang's death), revised in 1764, and reprinted in 1849.  The Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci created the first comprehensive world map in the Chinese language in the early 17th century,  while comprehensive world gazetteers were later tanslated into Chinese by Europeans.
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