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Chinese Literature
Xu zizhi tongjian 續資治通鑒


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Xu zizhi tongjian 續資治通鑑 “Continuation to the Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government” is a continuation to Sima Guang’s 司馬光 history Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑑. It was published under the name of the scholar and official Bi Yuan 畢沅 (1730 – 1797, courtesy name Xiangheng 纕蘅, style Qiufan 秋帆). He personally collected all kinds of historiographical sources and information. His collected writings are Lingyan shanren wenji 靈巖山人文集 (prose) and Lingyan shanren shiji 靈巖山人詩集 (poetry). Other writings of him can be found in the collectaneum Jingxuntang congshu 經訓堂叢書. The original name of his 220 juan long history was Song-Yuan biannian 宋元編年 “Chronicle of the Song and Yuan periods”. It was actually not compiled of Bi Yuan himself, but by a team of historians including Yan Changming 嚴長明 (1731 – 1787, courtesy name Dongyou 冬有 or 東友 or Daofu 道甫, style Yonghui 用晦), Cheng Jinfang 程晉芳 (1718 – 1748, courtesy name Yumen 魚門, style Jiyuan 蕺園), Shao Jinhan 邵晉涵 (1743 – 1796, courtesy name Yutong 與桐 or Eryun 二雲, style Jiangnan 南江), Hong Liangji 洪亮吉 (1746 – 1809, courtesy name Junzhi 君直 or Zhicun 稚存, style Jiangbei 北江, later Gengsheng 更生), Sun Xingyan 孫星衍 (1753 – 1818, courtesy name Boyuan 伯淵 or Yuanru 淵如, style Jishu 季述) and Zhang Xuecheng 章學誠 (1738 – 1801, courtesy name Shizhai 實齋). The book was not yet finished when Bi Yuan died. In 1801 Feng Jiwu 馮集梧 (jinshi degree 1781, courtesy name Xuanpu 軒圃, style Luting 鷺庭) obtained the already finished 103 juan and the manuscript of the rest, and published the draft. The design of the first part of the book in the printed original is therefore different from that of the second part. 182 juan deal with the Song period, and 38 juan with the Yuan period. The compilers made use of Xu Qianxue’s 徐乾學 Zizhi tongjian houbian 資治通鑑後編, the official dynastic histories Songshi 宋史, Liaoshi 遼史, Jinshi 金史 and Yuanshi 元史, Li Tao’s 李燾 Xu zizhi tongjian changbian 續資治通鑑長編, Li Xinchuan’s 李心傳 Jianyan yilai xinian yaolu 建炎以來系年要錄, Ye Longli’s 葉隆禮 Qidan guo zhi 契丹國志, and many less known historiographical sources, in total more than 110 books. The Xu zizhi tongjian begins in 960, linking to the original Zizhi tongjian, and ends in 1370, with the foundation of the Ming dynasty. The first part allows the same weight for all dynasties ruling China, and does not neglect the ‘barbarian’ empires Liao, Western Xia and Jin in favour to the ‘Chinese’ Song dynasty. The sources concentrate on the downfall of all of these dynasties and thus fulfil the original objective of the Zizhi tongjian, to be a “mirror for good government”. The part on the Yuan period is unfortunately too superficial in comparison with the Song part. This is partially a consequence of the lack of sources on the Mongol reign of the Yuan. Following the example of the Zizhi tongjian, each paragraph is enriched by a short text-critical comment (kaoyi 考異) to indicate differences in various sources. The Xu zizhi tongjian is included in the collectanea Zizhi tongjian huike 資治通鑑彙刻 and Sibu beiyao 四部備要. There is a print from the Tongzhi reign 同治 (1862 – 1874). In 1957, the Zhonghua Book Company 中華書局 published an annotated modern version, eliminating printing errors of former versions. In the same year, the Guji press 古籍出版社 published an edition, a new Zhonghua publication was made in 1964, and in 1987 an edition by the Shanghai guji chubanshe 上海古籍出版社. References: Sibu beiyao, Xuxiu siku quanshu, Zizhi tongjian huike.

Source: 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, pp. 894.

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September 6, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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