An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Tangqueshi 唐闕史

Dec 10, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Tangqueshi 唐闕史 "Missing history of the Tang", shortly called Queshi 闕史, is a collection of short stories from the Tang period 唐 (618-907). The author is Gao Yanxiu 高彦休 (854-?), style Canliaozi 參寥子, of which not much is known. He obtained his jinshi degree in 874 and became a secretary of Gao Pian 高駢, the military commissioner (jiedushi 節度使) of Huainan 淮南. Gao was given the titles of iron-and-salt commissioner (yantie xunguan 鹽鐵巡官), gentleman for court discussion (chaoyilang 朝儀郎), captain (wei 尉) of the metropolitan guard and of Xianyang, and even that of "pillar of the state" (zhuguo 柱國, i.e. Counsellor-in-chief). The book was finished in 884. According to the preface it included 51 chapters that had a length of 2 juan "scrolls". It includes semi-historical stories and novels from the late Tang period. Part of the stories is written in the traditional genre of ghost stories or tales of supernatural events. The book is not much known, but at least two stories have made their way to later versions: Du Mu's search for the springtime (Du Ziwei mu Huzhou 杜紫微牧湖州), and the story Li Ke ji xi san jiao 李可及戲三教, which later became a famous theatre play. The imperial bibliography of the official dynastic history Xintangshu 新唐書 speaks of a length of 3 juan. The received version contains 51 stories. There are quotations from the Tangqueshi by Song period 宋 (960-1279) scholars which are not included in the received version. The stories quoted in the Song period encyclopedia Taiping guangji 太平廣記 are very different from that of the modern version. There might have been another, different version of the Tangqueshi.
The Tangqueshi is included in the reprint series Zhibuzuzhai congshu 知不足齋叢書, Longwei mishu 龍威秘書, Shuofu 說郛, Yiyuan junhua 藝苑捃華 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Cheng Yizhong 程毅中 (1986). "Queshi 闕史", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學, vol. 1, p. 660. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.
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. 2174.