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Xin Yuanshi 新元史


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The Xin Yuanshi 新元史 "New history of the Yuan dynasty" is the second official dynastic history (zhengshi 正史) of the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368), after the Yuanshi 元史 that was published in the early Ming period 明 (1368-1644). The Xin Yuanshi was written by Ke Shaomin 柯紹忞 (1850-1933). Ke Shaomin was an academician and secretary at the Imperial Court during the last years of the Qing dynasty 清 (1644-1911). He participated in the official dynastic history of the Qing, the Qingshigao 清史稿. As a historiographer, he was always interested in the revision of the old history of the Yuan that suffered from prejudice against the Mongols and had been compiled in a very hasty and negligent way. Ke Shamin extracted information from the Ming period encyclopedia Yongle dadian 永樂大典 fragments of the institutional history of the Yuan dynasty, the Jingshi dadian 經世大典. He was able to obtain the book Yuanshi yiwen zhengbu 元史譯文證補 by Lu Wenduan 陸文端 that contained Non-Chinese material on the Yuan period, translated into Chinese. Ke made also use of the secret history of the Mongols, the Yuanchao mishi 元朝秘史, the institutional history Yuan dianzhang 元典章 and the history Mengwur shiji 蒙兀儿史記, as well as literary and surviving documentary sources from the Yuan period, like collected writings of authors from that time, or inscriptions from tomb stones. These sources highly contributed to gain a better picture of the era of Mongol rule in China. In 1920 the 257 juan "scrolls" long Xin Yuanshi was finished. A year later it was officially incorporated into the canon of the official dynastic histories, making a whole of 25 of such. The Xin Yuanshi consists of imperial biographies (benji 本紀) in 26 juan, tables (biao 表) in 7 juan, treatises (zhi 志) in 70 juan, and normal and collective biographies (liezhuan 列傳) in 154 juan. The imperial biographies of the emperors Taizu 元太祖 (Čingghis Qan, r. 1206-1227) and Taizong 元太宗 (Ögödei, r. 1229-1241) are much more detailed than in the original Yuanshi. Ke Shaomin was also able to add a lot of normal biographies not included in the first Yuanshi, for example, state officials from the very late Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) like Zheng Sixiao 鄭思肖, Xie Hao 謝翱, Tang Yu 唐鈺, Wang Yannian 王炎午, Gong Kai 龔開 or Wang Yuanliang 汪元量, as well as leaders of the rebel groups against the Mongols at the end of the Yuan period, like Han Lin'er 韓林兒, Xu Shouhui 徐壽輝, Zhang Shicheng 張士誠, Cheng Youliang 陳友諒, Ming Yuzhen 明玉珍 or Fang Guozhen 方國珍. The treatises and tables were also highly enriched with new informations not provided in the old Yuanshi. Inspite of the high credits that Ke Shaomin deserves for his revision of the Yuanshi, he has to be criticized that he followed the traditional style of historiography and did not indicate the exact sources for his statements. Part of the text-critical apparatus (kaozheng 考證) added to each chapter was not included in the printed version. Only after Ke Shaomin's death, the Institute of Historiography of Peking University published Ke's critical commentary or what was left of it. This is the 58 juan long book Xin Yuanshi kaozheng 新元史考證. It is included in the fifth series of the collectaneum Minguo congshu 民國叢書. The Xin Yuanshi was printed by the Tuigengtang press 退耕堂 in the 1920s. In 1962 the Kaiming press 開明書局 in Taiwan published it in the frame of the 25 dynastic histories (without the Qingshigao). The most common version is that from 1988 published by the Zhonghua shuju press 中國書店.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996), Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 934.

March 11, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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