An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Zixialu 資暇錄

Aug 28, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Zixialu 資暇錄 "Records from enriched times of relaxation", also called Zixiaji 資暇集, is a "brush-notes"-style book (biji 筆記) written during the Tang period 唐 (618-907) by Li Kuangyi 李匡乂, courtesy name Jiweng 濟翁. Information about his life and career is only very scarce. From a paragraph in the Zixialu, it can be learned that Li Han 李翰, author of the pedagogical encyclopaedia Mengqiu 蒙求, was a relative of him. The statecraft encyclopaedia Tanghuiyao 唐會要 says that in 881, when Emperor Xizong 唐僖宗 (r. 873-888) fled to Sichuan, the Heir Apparent had a secretary called Li Kuangyi. He must therefore have lived in the very late Tang period. Apart from the Zixialu, Li has authored a short chronicle called Nianji 年紀 that covers the history of the imperial dynasties from the Han to the Tang. The author of this book was Vice Chamberlain for the Imperial Clan (zongzheng shaoqing 宗正少卿) during the reign of Emperor Zhaozong 唐昭宗 (r. 888-904), which was accordingly the post in which Li Kuangyi served the dynasty.

The bibliography Junzhai dushu zhi 郡齋讀書志 quotes from the preface of the Zixialu, in which Li Kuangyi says that his intention was to correct errors in earlier writings. The first chapter of the book of 3 juan length is indeed dedicated to this matter; the second part "discusses the origin of various matters" (tan yuan 談原), and the third part looks for "where things are rooted" (ben wu 本物). The book is quite valuable for the study of pre- and early Tang period literature because it quotes from many sources that have not survived as a book. The Zixialu was therefore widely circulating, but it was only printed during the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279).

The Zixialu is to be found in the series Gezhi congshu 格致叢書, Xuehai leibian 學海類編, Xu zhibuzuzhai congshu 續知不足齋, Mohai jinhu 墨海金壺, Xu baichuan xuehai 續百川學海, Shuofu 說郛, Tang-Song congshu 唐宋叢書, Sishija xiaoshuo 四十家小說 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1915.