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Chinese Literature
The Four Categories (Sibu 四部)


The Four Categories of Literature
The historiographic category (shibu 史部) is the second of the four categories (sibu 四部) in the traditional system of the Chinese literary categories established during the Southern Dynasties period 南朝 (420~589). In the collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書 the category is divided into 15 sub-categories, including various types of proper histories (official biographic-thematic style zhengshi 正史, annalist style biannian 編年, theme-related histories jishi benmo 紀事本末, alternative histories bieshi 別史, miscellaneous histories zashi 雜史, extracts shichao 史鈔, regional histories zaiji 載記), collections of edicts and memorials (zhaoling zouyi 詔令奏議, shiling 時令), biographies of eminent persons (zhuanji 傳記), administrative and descriptive geography (dili 地理), state offices (zhiguan 職官) and regulations on such, regulations for all aspects of statecraft (zhengshu 政書), historical critique (shiping 史評), as well as the category of bibliographies (mulu 目錄), often based on palace libraries.

正史 Zhengshi Official dynastic histories
編年 Biannian Annals and chronicles
紀事本末 Jishi benmo Historical events in their entirety
別史 Bieshi Alternative histories
雜史 Zashi Miscellaneous histories
詔令奏議 Zhaoling zouyi Edicts and memorials
傳記 Zhuanji Biographies
史鈔 Shichao Excerpts from history books
載記 Zaiji Regional histories
時令 Shiling Edicts concerned with seasons
地理 Dili Geography
職官 Zhiguan Books on state offices
政書 Zhengshu Writings on administration
目錄 Mulu Bibliographies
史評 Shiping Historical critique



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