An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Da-Jin deyun tushuo 大金德運圖說

Jan 23, 2014 © Ulrich Theobald

Da-Jin deyun tushuo 大金德運圖說 "Illustrated Explanations to the Change of the Dynastic Element under the Great Jin Dynasty" is a short book on court rituals of the Jin dynasty 金 (1115-1234) that was founded by the Tungusic people of the Jurchens. The author or compiler of the book is unknown.

According to the official dynastic history Jinshi 金史, the auspicious colour of the Jin dynasty was white, its element water. Yet in 1202 Emperor Zhangzong 金章宗 (r. 1189-1208) decided to change the dynasty's element to earth, and the colour to yellow. In 1214, Emperor Xuanzong 金宣宗 (r. 1213-1223) proclaimed an edict that countermanded this change.

The (originally?) illustrated book Deyun tushuo describes how the court came to the decision to change the dynastic colour and quotes the memorials of 22 high court officials. The book is very interesting because in many points it contradicts statements in the Jinshi, for instance, the memorial of Zheng Xinxing 張行信 (1163-1231), who advocated the adoption of the element metal, while his biography in the Jinshi says that in 1216 he was among those supporting the element earth. For this reason it was included in the imperial series Siku daquan 四庫全書.

At that time it was only available as quotation fragments in the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) encyclopaedia Yongle dadian 永樂大典. Although the title seems to point at illustrations, there are none included in the text.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 935.