- An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art
About [Location: HOME > Literature > Four Categories > Historiography > Annals and Chronicles > Zizhi tongjian xubian]

Chinese Literature
Zizhi tongjian xubian 資治通鑒續編

The Four Categories of Literature
The Zizhi tongjian xubian 資治通鑒續編 "Continuation to the Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government" is a continuation of Sima Guang's 司馬光 history Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑒. It was compiled by the early Ming period 明 (1368-1644) historian Chen Cheng 陳檉 (also known as Cheng Jing 陳桱). He has also compiled some other historiographical books, like the Chidu quanti 尺牘筌蹄. The 24 juan "scrolls" long Xubian had been written because the Zizhi tongjian and its philosophy-critiqual restructuring by Zhu Xi 朱熹, the Tongjian gangmu 通鑑綱目, ended in the Five Dynasties period 五代 (907-960), and the continuation by Jin Lüxiang 金履祥, the prehistory Zizhi tongjian qianbian 資治通鑒前編, only went back to the mythical emperor Yao. The first juan of the Xubian therefore goes farther back to the time of the mythical inventor of the world, Pan Gu 盤古. The rest of the book describes the growing power of the steppe federation of the Khitans 契丹 during the Tang period 唐 (618-907) and their control over the Five Dynasties; the foundation of the Song dynasty 宋 (960-1279), its history and final demise by the Mongol conquest.
Chen Cheng's book is in first instance to be seen as a very critical history on the Song dynasty, their failure to control northern China and their unwillingness to withstand the Mongols. Defaitists like Lü Wenhuan 呂文煥, Zhang Shijie 張世杰 and Cao Sen 曹彬 are directly blamed for the downfall of the Song empire, and even the founder of the Song, Emperor Taizu 宋太祖 (r. 960-975), is attacked. The first juan narrates historiographically totally unreliable stories about the foundation of the world. A lot of facts concerning the Song period are not recorded in any other sources. These facts led to the repeated neglicence of the book by some scholars. Others treated it as a justified continuation of the Zizhi tongjian, even by Wang Zongmu 王宗沐 and Xue Yingqi 薛應旂 who wrote a proper continuation, the Song-Yuan zizhi tongjian 宋元資治通鑒.
The oldest print of the Xubian has been made in 1362. There is a 20 juan long print of the Xinxian Studio 新賢書堂 from the Jiajing reign 嘉靖 (1522-1566), which is comparatively good. The Xubian is also included in the collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

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, p. 893.


September 16, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
Chinese Literature over time