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Chinese Literature
Baijiangzhuan 百將傳 "Biographies of One Hundred Generals"


The Baijiangzhuan 百將傳 "Biographies of one hundred generals" is a military treatise written by the Song period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Zhang Yu 張預. It is 100 juan "scrolls" long and includes critical biographies of one hundred generals in Chinese history, from the Western Zhou 西周 (11th cent.-770 BCE) to the Five Dynasties period 五代 (907-960). There is a commentary written by Zhai Andao 翟安道. The author analyses the practical use of military classics like the Sunzi bingfa 孫子兵法. Later scholars have criticized the book for trying to analyse historical facts with very old texts, which seems to be an anachronism. The book was, nevertheless, very popular and has often been commented. There are even two supplements written by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholars He Qiaoxing 何喬新 (Baijiangzhuan xubian 百將傳續編) and Huang Daozhou 黄道周 (Guang mingjiangzhuang 廣名將傳).
There are many prints of the Baijiangzhuan. In the oldest surviving print of the Song period the book is titled Zhangshi jizhu baijiang zhuan 張氏集注百將傳 "Master Zhang's collected commentaries to the Baijiazhuan". There are old fragmentary prints preserved in the Shanghai Library 上海圖書館, the Tianyige Library 天一阁 in Ningbo in 8 juan, and one in the Nanjing Library 南京圖書館 in 10 juan. Yuan 元 (1279-1368) and Ming period prints bear the title of Shiqishi baijiang zhuan 十七史百將傳 "Biographies of one hundred generals from the seventeen official dynastic histories". A 10 juan long version with this title is preserved in the Beijing Library 北京圖書館.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1622. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
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January 18, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail