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Dongguan hanji 東觀漢記

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Dongguan hanji 東觀漢記 is an alternative history of the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220 CE), written in a biographic-thematic style (jizhuanti 紀傳體). The name is derived from the palace hall where the historiographic bureau was located. The origin of the Dongguan hanji can be traced back to an official biography for Emperor Guangwu 光武帝 (r. 25-57), founder of the Later Han dynasty, that was compiled by a team of historiographers under the guidance of Ban Gu 班固 who also compiled the Hanshu 漢書, the official dynastic history of the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE - 8 AD). The Dongguan hanji was permanently expanded through the decades and acheived a volume of 114 juan "scrolls" during the reign of Emperor Huan 漢桓帝 (r. 146-167). During the reign of Emperor Ling 漢靈帝 (r. 167-188) the collection was enlarged by "several dozen scrolls" more. The imperial bibliography Jingjizhi 經籍志 of the Suishu 隋書 speaks of a 143 juan long version, but that of the Songshi 宋史 only of 8 juan (!). The recent version of the Dongguan hanji is thus a reconstruced version of only 24 juan that was compiled during the 18th century. Even in this version many chapters are very defective, so that most biographies, tables and treatises are incomplete.
The Dongguan hanji comprises imperial biographies (diji 帝紀), tables (biao 表) of the state offices, treatises or monographies (zhi 志) about geography, astronomy and music, rites, ritual music, offerings, carts and clothing, finally normal biographies (liezhuan 列傳) of empresses and their kinsmen (waiqi 外戚), the imperial house (zongshi 宗室), meritorious officials (gongchen 功臣), eminent women (lienü 列女) and finally the barbarians (waiyi 外裔). The last chapters of the transmitted version are biographies of mighty potentates that made their own "dynasties" (zaiji 載記). With this structure the Dongguan hanji fulfilled all requirements of a dynastic history and was in fact the official history of the Eastern Han period until Fan Ye 范曄 published his Houhanshu 後漢書 in 445.

Source: Wu Shuping 吳樹平 (1992), "Dongguan hanji 東觀漢記", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, pp. 177-178.

1-3 帝紀 Diji Imperial biographies
4 年表 Nianbiao Chronological table
- 百官 Baiguan Central government officials
- 諸王 Zhuwang Imperial princes (missing)
- 王子侯 Wangzi hou Imperial marquesses (missing)
- 功臣 Gongchen Meritorious ministers (missing)
- 恩澤侯 Enze hou Persons made marquess because of merits (missing)
5 志 Zhi Treatises
- 地理 dili local administration
- 律曆 lüli measures and calendar
- 禮 li rituals
- 樂 yue ritual music
- 郊祀 jiaosi suburban offerings
- 車服 chefu chariots and robes
6-23 列傳 Liezhuan Individual and collective biographies
- 6 外戚 Waiqi Empresses and their relatives
- 7 宗室 Zongshi Imperial relatives
- ...
- 22 列女外裔 Lienü, waiyi Eminent women and barbarians
- 24 (missing)

July 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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