Recently, a serial of books with the name of "Zihui" belonging to the Wanli Era of the Ming Dynasty has appeared in Qian'an, Hebei Province. Its owner is a senior collector---Mr. Wang and this serial of books has been identified as a scarce edition of Ming Dynasty, which is exactly the "dictionary" of that time, thus it possesses a high historical value.
The currently collected thread-bound edition "Zihui" comprises 12 volumes; each is 25.8 cm long, 15.8cm wide and 1.4 cm thick. Although the paper has yellowed with age, the format and printing of the books is still clear and of good quality. In addition, square seals can be seen in each cover of the 12 volumes of books.
As the sole complete dictionary compiled before Kangxi Dictionary, Zihui is a large dictionary compiled by Mei Yingzuo during the Wanli Era of the Ming Dynasty. (Kangxi Dictionary is an influential Chinese dictionary which is compiled under the order of Emperor "Kangxi" in Qing Dynasty and the style of Kangxi Dictionary imitated Zihui dictionary a lot.) Zihui dictionary was once very popular and was reprinted frequently from Ming Dynasty to Late Qing Dynasty. However, most of the editions found todayare Qing editions and the Qing edition is quite rare to find today. Therefore, Mr. Wang's collection is of great value. The dictionary originally comprised 14 volumes but only 12 volumes have been discovered, which means 2 other volumes of Zihui (detailed volume and ending volume) are still missing.
Mr. Wang hopes that the missing volumes can be found finally to realize the "reunion" of the total 14 volumes.