An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Zhenghe wuli xinyi 政和五禮新儀

Jan 23, 2014 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhenghe wuli xinyi 政和五禮新儀 "New ceremonies of the five rites from the Zhenghe reign-period" is a book on state rituals compiled by a team under the supervision of Zheng Juzheng 鄭居中 (1059-1123), courtesy name Dafu 達夫.

Zheng hailed from Kaifeng 開封 (today in Henan), the capital of the Song empire, and made a career from the position as drafter in the Palace Secretariat (zhongshu sheren 中書舍人) to Hanlin Academician (Hanlin xueshi 翰林學士), and was finally Vice Director of the Left (taizai 太宰) and held the title Junior Preceptor (shaofu 少師). He was bestowed the title of Duke of Yan 燕國公 and granted the posthumous title of Duke Zhengwen 鄭文正公.

The 220-juan long book was compiled when Zheng Juzheng was an official of the Ritual Service (yiliju 儀禮局) of the Bureau of Military Affairs (shumiyuan 樞密院) during the Zhenghe reign-period 政和 (1111-1117) of Emperor Huizong 宋徽宗 (r. 1100-1125), the last emperor of the Northern Song 北宋 (960-1126). The book is introduced by a preface written by the Emperor.

It begins with the texts of suggestions on state rituals brought forward by members of the Ritual Service, and comments of Emperor Huizong on these proposals.

The next part is dedicated to capping rites as compiled by the emperor (Yuzhi guanli 御制冠禮). The main text is divided in several parts. 24 juan include a general outline of court rituals (li zhi gangyao 禮之綱要), 111 juan festivity rituals (jili 吉禮), 21 juan guest rituals (binli 賓禮), 8 juan military rituals (junli 軍禮), 42 juan congratulational rituals (jiali 嘉禮), and 14 juan "inauspicious rituals" (xiongli 兇禮, i.e. funeral rites).

Emperor Huizong had ordered to change the traditional sequence of the rituals and to describe marital ceremonies (hunyi 婚儀) before going on to capping rituals (guanyi 冠儀).

The great Neo-Confucian master Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130-1200), who lived during the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279), was not very content with the Zhenghe wuli xinyi, so that after the publication of the ritual book Zhongxing lishu 中興禮書 it ceased to circulate. In the received version, many chapters are not complete.

The Zhenghe wuli xinyi is the only text on state rituals from the Northern Song period that has survived. The books Kaibao li 開寶禮, Taichang yinge li 太常因革禮 and Lige xinyi 禮閣新儀 are lost, and of the Zhongxing lishu only a few fragments have survived in the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) encyclopaedia Yongle dadian 永樂大典.

Zheng Juzhong's book is included in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

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, 1442.
Wu Yu 吳羽 (2013). "Zhenghe wuli xinyi bianzhuan kaolun 《政和五礼新儀》編撰考論", Xueshu yanjiu 學術研究, 2013 (6).
Zhu Yi 朱溢 (2015). "Zhonggu Zhongguo binli de gouzao ji qi yanjin: Cong Zhenghe wuli xinyi de binli zhiding tanqi 中古中國賓禮的構造及其演進——從《政和五禮新儀》的賓禮制定談起", Zhonghua wenshi luncong 中華文史論叢, 2015 (6).