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Song-Yuan zizhi tongjian 宋元資治通鑒

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The Song-Yuan zizhi tongjian 宋元資治通鑒 "The Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government of the Song and Yuan periods" is a continuation to Sima Guang's 司馬光 Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑒. Because Sima Guang's book ends in the year 959, it was necessary to expand this famous history so that the Song 宋 (960-1279) and Yuan 元 (1279-1368) periods were covered, too. There are two books of this title. One was written by Wang Zongmu 王宗沐, and one by Xue Yingqi 薛應旂 who lived both during the Ming period 明 (1368-1644).
Wang Zongmu (1523-1591), courtesy name Wang Xinfu 王新甫, was a secretary in the Ministry of Justice. In his preface he explains his principles for the compilation of his book, but in fact he does not meet his own standards because the source material he used is very poor. His 64 juan "scrolls" long book has therefore largely been neglected by later scholars.
Xue Yingqi, courtesy name Xue Zhongchang 薛仲常, came from Wujin 武進, Jiangsu, and was director of the Bureau of Evaluations (kaogong langzhong 考功郎中) in the secondary capital Nanjing 南京. Because he criticized the high official Yan Song 嚴嵩 he was demoted to assistant prefect (tongpan 通判) of Jianchang 建昌. Later on he was vice education intendant (tixue fushi 提學副使) in Zhejiang 浙江, but soon retired from office to dedicate himself to the study of history and of Neo-Confucianism, as a disciple of Wang Yangming 王陽明. He has written the books Sishu renwu kao 四書人物考, Jiazi huiji 甲子會記, Kaoting yuanyuan lu 考亭淵源錄, Xianzhanglu 憲章錄 and Fangshan wenlu 方山文錄. His 157 juan long book was intended as an alternative to Shang Lu's 商輅 Tongjian gangmu xubian 通鑒綱目續編 (also called Xu Song-Yuan zizhi tongjian gangmu 續宋元資治通鑒綱目 or shortly Xu zizhi tongjian gangmu 續資治通鑒綱目), an earlier continuation of Zhu Xi's 朱熹 Tongjiang gangmu 通鑑綱目, a restructuring of the Zizhi tongjian. Yet Xue Yingqi did not make use of many important historiographical sources, like the writings of Wang Cheng 王偁, Li Tao 李燾, Yang Zhongliang 楊仲良, Xu Mengxin 徐夢莘, Liu Shiju 劉時舉, Peng Baichuan 彭百川, Li Xinchuan 李心傳, Ye Shaoweng 葉紹翁, Chen Jun 陳均 or Xu Ziming. He also neglected the histories of the empires of Liao 遼 (907-1125) and Jin 金 (1115-1234) and did not make use of the tables and treatises in the official histories of the Song and Yuan dynasties. His description of regulations and administrative statutes is very short and most of the biographies not consistent enough. Sometimes two persons are described twice, with contradicting statements. He did not make text-critical research, and his book is quite unreliable, except the passages speaking about Neo-Confucian scholars. The oldest print dates from 1626.

Sources: Wu Feng 吳楓 (ed. 1987), Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), p. 439. ● Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (ed. 1996), Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 888.


September 28, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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