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Chinese Literature
Minghuang zalu 明皇雜錄 "Miscellaneous Records of Emperor Ming [Tang Xuanzong]"


The Minghuang zalu 明皇雜錄 "Miscellaneous records of Emperor Ming" is a collection of stories around Emperor Tang Xuanzong 唐玄宗 (r. 712-755) compiled by the late Tang period 唐 (618-907) scholar Zheng Chuhui 鄭處誨, courtesy name Zheng Tingmei 鄭廷美. He came from Yingyang 滎陽 in the prefecture of Zhengzhou 鄭州 (modeng Yingyang, Henan) and was Vice Minister of Works (gongbu shilang 工部侍郎), then Vice Minister of Justice (xingbu shilang 刑部侍郎), surveillance commissioner (guanchashi 觀察使) of Zhedong 浙東, acting Minister of Justice (jianjiao xingbu shangshu 檢校刑部尚書), and finally military commissioner (jiedushi 節度使) of the military prefecture of Xuanwu 宣武軍.
The book Minghuang zalu is 2 juan "scrolls" long, in some editions plus a supplementery chapter (Bielu 別錄), and was originally classified as "miscellaneous history" (zashi 雜史) before bring "downgraded" to a novella (xiaoshuo 小説). The book was finished in 855 and is introuced by a preface written by the author. It includes 37 stories of the youth of Emperor Xuanzong, his reign, and the time of old age, when he had to flee the capital and escaped to Shu 蜀 (Sichuan). In some stories worthy ministers and evil favourites are mentioned and vividly described. The stories can not be used as historiographical sources, but they show how the glorious age of the Tang, which was concurrently the apex and the turning point, was seen by contemporarians and later persons: The golden age was also an age of decay. The stories have a strong character of tales and can be compared with contemporary collections, like the Ci Liushi jiuwen 次柳氏舊聞, Kaitian chuanxin ji 開天傳信記, or Minghuang shiqi shi 明皇十七事. The book has not survived in full, but the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Qian Xizuo 錢熙祚 has added fragments of the Minghuang zalu quoted in other books.
The Minghuang zalu is included in the collectanea Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Mohai jinhu 墨海金壺, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 and Shoushange congshu 守山閣叢書. In 1985 the Shanghai guji press 上海古籍出版社 published a modern edition in the series Kaiyuan-Tianbao yishi shi zhong 開元天寶遺事十種.


Sources:
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe, vol. 2, p. 2140.
Liu Zhaoyun 劉兆雲 (1991). "Minghuang zalu 明皇雜錄", in: Zhongguo wenxue da cidian 中國文學大辭典, vol. 5, pp. 3707-3708. Ed. Ma Liangchun 馬良春, Li Futian 李福田. Tianjin: Tianjin renmin chubanshe.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

December 10, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail