An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Song huiyao jigao 宋會要輯稿

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Song huiyao jigao 宋會要輯稿 "Draft to an institutional history of the Song dynasty" is a reconstruction of the official institutional history (huiyao 會要) of the Song dynasty 宋 (960-1279), the Song huiyao 宋會要.

The original Song huiyao has only survived in fragments quoted in the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) encyclopaedia Yongle dadian 永樂大典.The fragments are, nevertheless, so abundant that the whole reconstruction has a length of no less than 366 juan.

The first version of an institutional history of the Song period was drafted by the three bureaus of the Institute for the Veneration of Literature (Chongwenyuan 崇文院), but this task was later officially taken over by the Imperial Library (mishusheng 秘書省). Through the Song period there were eleven institutional histories being compiled:

Table 1. Lost institutional histories of the Song dynasty
慶曆國朝會要 百五十卷 Qingli guochao huiyao (Song) 宋綬 Song Shou
元豐增修五朝會要 三百卷 Yuanfeng zengxiu wuchao huiyao (Song) 李得鄒 Li Dezou
政和重修會要 百十卷 Zhenghe chongxiu huiyao (Song) 曾肇 Zeng Zhao
乾道續四朝會要 二百卷 Qiandao xu sichao huiyao (Song) 汪大猷 Wang Dayou
乾道中興會要 二百卷 Qiandao zhongxing huiyao (Song) 陳騤 Chen Kui
淳熙會要 三百六十八卷 Chunxi huiyao (Song) 趙雄 Zhao Xiong
嘉泰孝宗會要 二百卷 Jiatai Xiaozong huiyao (Song) 邵文炳 Shao Wenbing
慶元光宗會要 百卷 Qingyuan Guangzong huiyao (Song) 京鏜 Jing Tang
嘉泰寧宗會要 二百二十五卷 Jiatai Ningzong huiyao (Song) 陳自強 Chen Ziqiang
經進總類會要 Jingjin zonglei huiyao (Song) 張從祖 Zhang Congzu
經進續總類會要 Jingjin xu zonglei huiyao (Song) 張從祖 Zhang Congzu
十三朝會要 五百八十八卷 Shisan chao huiyao (Song) 李心傳 Li Xinchuan
Source: Songshi 宋史, 207 Yiwen zhi 藝文志 6.

According to contemporary sources there must have been four other huiyao texts being submitted to the throne of which unfortunately nothing is preserved. The time covered by the extant texts ranges from 960, when the Song dynasty was founded, to 1224. The integral texts were already lost during the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368). The catalogue of the imperial library of the mid-Ming period 明 (1368-1644), the Wenyuange shumu 文淵閣書目 by Yang Shiqi 楊士奇 (1365-1444), list a Song huiyao in 203 volumes, but remarks that it was lost. For this reason the later cataloge of the imperial secretariat, the Neige cangshu mulu 內閣藏書目錄 by Sun Nengchuan 孫能傳 and Zhang Xuan 張萱, does not list a Song huiyao at all.

Interestingly enough other catalogues, like Ye Sheng's 葉盛 (1420-1474) Luzhutang shumu 菉竹堂書目 and Jiao Hong's 焦竑 (1540-1620) Guoshi jingji zhi 國史經籍志 simply transmitted the information on the book as if it had really been owned by the imperial library.

In 1809, in the course of the official compilation of the prose collection Quantangwen 全唐文, the collected prose writings of the Tang period 唐 (618-907), one of the compilers, Xu Song 徐松 (1781-1848), took the chance of having access to the Yongle dadian enclopedia. He extracted the countless fragments of the various Song huiyao books. Of the Yongle dadian itself already 2,000 chapters were missing so that there are also fragments of the Song huiyao lost. This tremendous task could not be finished by Xu Song.

More than half a century later Zhang Zhidong 張之洞 (1837-1909) established the Guangya Publishing House (Guangya Shuju 廣雅書局) and assigned Miao Quansun 繆荃孫 ((1844-1919) and Tu Ji 屠寄 (1856-1921) with the revision of Xu's draft. The result was the so-called Guangya draft 廣雅稿本 in 110 volumes. This draft was again revised and polished in 1915 by Liu Fuzeng's 劉富曾 Jiaye Studio 嘉業堂. This is the Qing version (Qingben Songhuiyao 清本宋會要), which has abbreviated and omitted a lot of chapters.

The Beiping Library 北平圖書館 in Beijing therefore assigned Ye Weiqing 葉渭清 (1886-1966) and Chen Yuan 陳垣 (1880-1971) with the revision of the Qing version. The result of the reconstruction task was the Song huiyao jigao, finished in 1936 and printed by the Shanghai Dadong Press 上海大東書局.

The Song huiyao jigao has a very high value as a source for the history of the political, administrative and economic system of the Song dynasty. It is important as a supplement to the treatises in the Songshi 宋史, the official dynastic history of the dynasty. The Song huiyao jigao deals with 67 topics (lei 類). At the beginning of each topic a short introduction is given, after which imperial edicts and memorials by officials concerning the relevant theme are listed chronologically. The reader must always be aware that there are chapters missing and the some chapters have been added from later sources which were not included in the original institutional histories from the Song period.

Table 2. Contents of the Song huiyao jigao 宋會要輯稿
1-5 帝系 The imperial house
6 后妃 Empresses, consorts and their clans
7-9 Ritual music
10-42 Rituals
43-35 輿服 Chariots and robes
46-51 儀制 The system of courtly etiquette
52 瑞異 Portents and omina
53 運曆 Calendar
54-57 崇儒 The veneration of scholars
58-106 職官 State offices
107-120 選舉 State examinations
121-163 食貨 Food and commodities
164-170 刑法 Penal law
171-186 The military
187-195 方域 Administrative geography
196-199 蕃夷 Barbarians
200 道釋 Daoism and Buddhism
Chen Zhichao 陳智超 (1987). "Cong Song huiyao jigao chuxian Mingdai diming kan Yongle dadian dui suo shoushu de xiugai 從《宋會要輯稿》出現明代地名看《永樂大典》對所收書的修改", Shixue yuekan 史學月刊, 1987 (4).
Guan Yongli 關永禮 (2015). "Xu Song, Miao Quanshun yu chuanshi zhenji Song huiyao jigao de zhengli yu kanyin 徐松、繆荃孫與傳世珍籍《宋會要輯稿》的整理與刊印", Hunan Renwen Keji Xueyuan xuebao 湖南人文科技學院學報, 2015 (2).
Lishi Xi Zhongguo Gudaishi Jiaoyan shi 歷史系中國古代史教研室 (1962). "Song huiyao jigao de shiliao jiazhi ji qi cunzai wenti 《宋會要輯稿》的史料價值及其存在問題", Kaifeng Xueyuan xuebao 開封師院學報, 1962 (5).
Wang Yunhai 王雲海 (1992), "Song huiyao jigao 宋會要輯稿", 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. 2, pp. 1015f.
Yin Bo 尹波 (2015). "Guji jiaokan de lujing: Yi Song huiyao jigao wei li 古籍校勘的路徑——以《宋會要輯稿》為例", Wenxian 文獻, 2015 (11).