Hanlin Academy was an academic and administrative institution founded in the eighth-century Tang China by Emperor Xuanzong in Chang'an.
Membership in the academy was confined to an elite group of scholars, who performed secretarial and literary tasks for the court. One of its main duties was to decide on an interpretation of the
Chinese classics. This formed the basis of the Imperial examinations, which aspiring bureaucrats had to pass to attain higher level posts. Painters working for the court were also attached to the academy.
Some of the more famous academicians of Hanlin were:
Li Bai (701-762) - Poet
Bai Juyi (772-846) - Poet
Yan Shu (991-1055) - Poet, calligrapher, (prime minister, 1042)
Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072) - Historian
Shen Kuo (1031-1095) - Chancellor
Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145) - Painter
Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322) - Painter, calligrapher, poet (rector, 1314-1320)
Huang Zicheng (1350-1402) - Imperial scholar
Li Dongyang (1447-1516) - Imperial officer, poet, served as 'Grand Historian'
Ni Yuanlu (1593-1644) - Calligrapher, painter, high-ranking official
Wu Renchen (1628-1689) - Historian and mathematician
Zhang Tingyu (1672-1755) - Politician and historian
Ji Xiaolan (1724-1805) - Scholar, poet (Editor in Chief of the ) Siku Quanshu
Yao Nai (1731-1815) - Scholar
Gao E (1738-1815) - Scholar and editor
He Changling (1785-1848) - Scholar and official
Zeng Guofan (1811-1872) - Scholar and later key military official
Chen Lanbin (1816-1895) - Diplomat (ambassador to the U.S., Spain and Peru)
Weng Tonghe (1830-1904) - Imperial Tutor
Cai Yuanpei (1868-1940) - Educator Qu Hongji (1850-1918) - Politician
Bureau of Translators
Subordinated to the Hanlin Academy was the Bureau of Translators (
Chinese: /; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: ). Szu 4-i 2 Kuan 3/Szu 4-i 4 Kuan 3 Founded by the  Ming dynasty in 1407, after the first expedition of Zheng He to the Indian Ocean, the Bureau dealt with the memorials delivered by foreign ambassadors and trained foreign language specialists. It included departments for many languages such as the  Jurchen,   "Tartar" (  Mongol),     Korean,  Ryukyuan, Japanese,      Tibetan,     "  Huihui" (the "Muslim" language, Persian)     Vietnamese and  Burmese languages,   as well as for the languages of the "various barbarian tribes" (  Bai yi , i.e., Shan ethnic groups on China's southwestern borders), "Gaochang" (people of Turfan, i.e. Old Uyghur language),       and  Xitian (; ( Sanskrit, spoken in India)). In 1511 and 1579 departments for the languages of Ba bai (; Lao) and Thai were added, respectively. A  Malay language vocabulary (Ma La Jia Guo Yi Yu) (Words-list of Melaka Kingdom) for the Malay spoken in the Malacca Sultanate was compiled.          A  Cham language vocabulary was created for the language spoken in the Champa Kingdom.  
Qing dynasty revived the Ming Siyiguan , the Manchus, who "were sensitive to references to barbarians", changed the name from yi ? "barbarian" to yi ? " Yi people", and changed the Shan exonym from Baiyi "hundred barbarians" to Baiyi "hundred translations". 
Tongwen Guan set up by the Qing dynasty for translating western languages was subordinated to the Zongli Yamen and not the Hanlin.
The Beijing Hanlin Academy and its library were severely damaged in a fire during the
siege of the Foreign Legations in Beijing in 1900 by the Kansu Braves while fighting against the Eight-Nation Alliance. On June 24, the fire spread to the Academy:
The old buildings burned like tinder with a roar which drowned the steady rattle of musketry as
Tung Fu-shiang's Moslems fired wildly through the smoke from upper windows.
Some of the incendiaries were shot down, but the buildings were an inferno and the old trees standing round them blazed like torches.
An attempt was made to save the famous
Yung Lo Ta Tien, but heaps of volumes had been destroyed, so the attempt was given up.
Many ancient texts were destroyed by the flames.
The Academy operated continuously until its closure during the 1911
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Foreign language vocabularies