An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Huang Pilie 黃丕烈

May 6, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Huang Pilie 黃丕烈 (1763-1825), courtesy name Shaowu 紹武, style Raopu 蕘圃, Fufeng 復翁, Ningsong zhuren 佞宋主人 or Shumo 書魔, was a mid-Qing period 清 (1644-1911) collector and publisher. He hailed from Wuxian 吳縣 (modern Suzhou 蘇州, Jiangsu), and earned his juren degree in 1788. After a short time as ministerial secretary (zhushi 主事) he withdrew from office and became a private collector.

Huang acquired more than a hundred excellent book prints from the Song period 宋 (960-1279) and therefore called his library Baisong yichen 百宋一廛 "A hundred Song period (books) in one house". His study was called Shiliju 士禮居 "The Ordinary Officer's Study" or Qiuguju 求古居 "Study of Seeking Antiquity". Except original Song prints, he also collected manuscript commentaries of famous persons (chaojiaoben 鈔校本) because he was convinced that the textual quality of manuscripts was more reliable than that of prints, in which always typographic errors occur. Huang Pilie was able to purchase books from older, dissolved libraries like Qian Zeng's 錢曾 (1629-1701) Shugutang 述古堂 or Mao Jin's 毛晉 (1599-1659) Jiguge 汲古閣.

Huang Pilie planned to publish a catalogue of books in his library, with an appendix of books he was able to have a look at in other libraries. This book, with the projected title Suojian gushu lu 所見古書錄, unfortunately came never into being. At least, the books in his own library were recorded and commented as Baisong yichen shulu 百宋一廛書錄, published in 1803. He also published commented rhapsodies in his collection, the Baisong yichen fuzhu 百宋一廛賦注, and the Qiuguju songben shumu 求古居宋本書目. These three books are restricted to Song period texts.

In his later years, Huang Pilie was highly indebted because of his library and had to sell parts of it to his creditors. Some books found their way into other libraries, as the Yiyun Shushe 藝蕓書舍 of Master Wang 汪氏, the Haiyuange 海源閣 of Yang Yizeng 楊以增, the Tieqintongjianlou 鐵琴銅劍樓 of Zhai Shaoji 瞿紹基 (1772-1836), or the Bisonglou 皕宋樓 of Lu Xinyuan 陸心源 (1834-1894). Part of his books are today owned by the largest public libraries, but those of the Bisonglou found their way to the Seikadō Library 靜嘉堂文庫 in Japan.

Huang Pilie wrote numerous bibliographic comments to the books stored in his library. In these "postfaces" (tiba 題跋) he also described the history of the transmission of these texts, so that they are a very important source for the history of private libraries and collectors in Chinese history. In 1884 Pan Zuyin 潘祖蔭 (1830-1890) and Miao Quansun 繆荃孫 (1844-1919) published his bibliographic notes as Shiliju cangshu tiba ji 士禮居藏書題跋記, with a supplement (Tiba jixu 題跋記續) appearing in 1896 (part of the series Lingjiange congshu 靈鶼閣叢書), and a further supplement (Zai xuji 再續記) in 1912 (in the Guxue huikan 古學匯刊). The Raopu cangshu tishi 蕘圃藏書題識 appeared between 1916 and 1919, and in 1933 and 1954, respectively, Wang Dalong 王大隆 (1901-1966) published two supplements to this book.

Huang Pilie also published some rare and excellent prints in his library in the shape of the series Shiliju congshu 士禮居叢書. Other books were also separately published by him in facsimile editions of the Yili Zheng zhu 儀禮鄭注, Guoyu 國語, Zhanguoce zhu 戰國策注, Yudi guangji 輿地廣記, or Huangshi jiyan fang 洪氏集驗方.

In his last years Huang Pilie made a living as a booktrader.

Li Yu'an 李玉安, Chen Chuanyi 陳傳藝, ed. (1989). Zhongguo cangshujia cidian 中國藏書家辭典 (Wuhan: Hubei jiaoyu chubanshe), 233.
Ji Shuying 冀淑英 (1993). "Huang Pilie 黃丕烈", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Wenwu bowuguan 文物•博物館 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 252.
Shen Xieyuan 沈燮元 (1993). "Huang Pilie 黃丕烈", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Tushuguan qingbaoxue dang'anxue 圖書館學•情報學•檔案學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 187.