An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Quantangshi 全唐詩

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Quantangshi 全唐詩, full title Yuding quan Tang shi 御定全唐詩 "The whole [collection of] Tang-period shi-style poetry as fixed by his Majesty", is a collection of all preserved regular shi poems 詩 from the Tang 唐 (618-907) and Five Dynasties 五代 (907-960) periods. It is the first book aiming at gathering the "whole" (quan 全) corpus of literature of one particular historical period. It was compiled between 1705 and 1707 on imperial order by a team led by Cao Yin 曹寅 (1658-1712) and Peng Dingyiu 彭定求 (1645-1719). Notable members of the team were Shen Sanceng 沈三曾 (jinshi degree 1676), Yang Zhongna 楊中訥 (1649-1719), Pan Conglü 潘從律 (jinshi degree 1691), Wang Shihong 汪士紘 (d. 1710), Xu Shuben 徐樹本, Che Dingjin 車鼎晉 (1668-1733), Zha Sili 查嗣瑮 (1652-1733), Wang Yi 汪繹 (1671-1706) and Yu Mei 俞梅. The preface, written by the Kangxi Emperor 康熙帝 (r. 1661-1722), is dated 1707.

The Quantangshi contains 48,900 poems (including fragments) of more than 2,200 writers, covering a huge volume of no less than in 900 juan. To each person a short biography is added (xiaozhuan 小傳), and to many verses, critical remarks are supplemented (xiaozhu 小注).

The Kangxi compilation was based on several earlier "complete" collections of Tang shi poems, the most important of which were Hu Chenheng's 胡晨亨 (1569-c. 1644) Tangyin tongqian 唐音統籤 with a length of 1033 juan from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644), and Ji Zhenyi's 季振宜 (1630-1674?) Tangshi 唐詩 (also known as Quantangshi 全唐詩 or Huiji quan Tang shi 彙集全唐詩) with a size of 717 juan. Neither of these two had ever been printed, but they had a great influence for the study of Tang-period regular poetry. They thus served as the basis for the large Quantangshi collection. Other sources were collections of Tang poems in the Imperial Household (neiwufu 內務府), inscriptions on stone slabs and steles, unofficial histories and various literary texts, and less important collections of poems, like Wu Wan's 吳琯 (jinshi degree 1571) Tangshiji 唐詩紀. The Quantangshi also includes fragments of lyrical texts. Cao and Peng eliminated inappropriate texts found in Ji’s Quantangshi, like Daoist magic incantations (zhou 咒) and Buddhist gāthā chants (jisong 偈頌), as well as some Yuan-period texts.

However, only after a thorough revision of the references had been made. There are nevertheless still countless errors and wrong attributions in the Quantangshi anthology, like the inclusion of some poems that had been written during the Southern Dynasties period (Nanchao 南朝, 420~589), or the confusion of titles containing names of persons with the name of the author (like "bidding farewell to XY" being attributed to XY). Even modern editions of the Quantangshi must therefore be carefully counter-checked with other sources. Early critical commentaries on these errors are Liu Shipei’s 劉師培 (1884-1919) Du Quantangshi fawei 讀全唐詩發微, Cen Zhongmian’s 岑仲勉 (1885-1961) Quantangshi zhaji 全唐詩札記 and Li Jiayan’s 李嘉言 (1911-1967) Gaibian Quantangshi cao'an 改編全唐詩草案.

The arrangement of the collection is very typical, and begins with the imperial houses and high-standing members of society, while persons of lower standing are found in the later fascicles. Normal persons (30.-784.) are arranged in chronological order, for which the compilers developed consistent rules of composition (fanli 凡例). Between the "nobility" and average persons, two particular genres of poems are inserted, namely Temple liturgies (10.-16. Jiaomiao yinzhang 郊廟音章), and Poetry of the Music-bureau style (17.-29. Yuefu 樂府). Near the end of the collection, genres of a more popular and less refined style are attached (874.-881.). The last fascicles are a kind of supplement (882.-888. Buyi 補遺), and a collection of 12 fascicles of early poetry of the lyric-metre style (889.-900. Ci 詞). In this way, the Quantangshi follows partly a concept of authors, and partially that that of genres. It thus deviates from the model of the Tangyin tongqian, which had established the chronological (and quasi qualitative) sequence of early Tang poetry (chu Tang 初唐, roughly 7th cent.), the apogee of Tang poetry (sheng Tang 盛唐 early 8th cent.), mid-Tang poetry (zhong Tang 中唐, late 8th cent.), and late Tang poetry (wan Tang 晚唐, 9th cent.).

The first printed edition was produced by the Yangzhou Poetry Bureau (Yangzhou shiju 揚州詩局) in 1707 in 120 booklets. A facsimile of this original edition was published in 1986 by the Shanghai Guji Press 上海古籍出版社. Reprints in pocket format (jinxiang ben 巾箱本) were published in Jiangning 江寧 and Guangzhou 廣州. The Tongwen Shuju 同文書局 in Shanghai published in 1887 a lithographic reprint in 32 volumes.

The common modern edition is that by the Zhonghua Shuju Press 中華書局 from 1960 in 12 volumes. This edition is enriched by a supplement, Quantangshi yi (Zentōshi ichi) 全唐詩逸, edited by the Japanese Kawa Seinei 河世寧 (Ichikawa Kansai 市川寬斎, 1749-1820) in 3 juan (Taibei: Guangwen Press 廣文書局, 1970) that is also found in the series Zhibuzuzhai congshu 知不足齋叢書. The Zhonghua edition includes an index. The original collection is also included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

In 1982, the Zhonghua Shuju Press published another supplement, Quantangshi waibian 全唐詩外編, edited by Wang Zhongmin 王重民 (1903-1975). This collection contains Wang's Bu Quantangshi 補全唐詩 (104 poems) and Bu Quantangshi shiyi 補全唐詩拾遺 as well as Dunhuang Tangren shiji canjuan 敦煌唐人詩集殘卷 with 62 poems found in Dunhuang, Sun Wang's 孫望 (1912-1990) Quantangshi buyi 全唐詩補遺 in 20 juan (896 poems), Tong Yangnian's 童養年 (1909-2001) Quantangshi xu buyi 全唐詩續補遺 in 21 juan (more than 1,200 poems), and Chen Shangjun’s 陳尚君 (b. 1952) Quantangshi xushi 全唐詩續拾. A collection of these supplements is called Quantangshi bubian 全唐詩補編 (Zhonghua Shuju 1992, ed. Chen Shangjun). Wang Zhongmin also published 52 further poems in the periodical Zhonghua wenshi luncong 中華文史論叢, 1981 (4). Zhang Buyun’s 張步雲 (1904-1948) supplement Tangdai yishi jicun 唐代逸詩輯存 was published in 1983 in the periodical Wenxue yichan 文學遺産. The book Quantangshi jianbian 全唐詩簡編, edited in 1992 by Gao Wen 高文 by the Shanghai Guji Press 上海古籍出版社 presents selected 5,500 poems of 550 writers.

Table 1. Chapters of the Quantangshi
1.-4 帝王 Diwang Emperors
5.-9. 后妃 Houfei [Princes and] consorts
10.-16. 郊廟音章 Jiaomiao yinzhang Temple liturgies
17.-29. 樂府 Yuefu Music bureau style poems
30.-784. Authors in chronological sequence
785.-787. 無名氏 Wumingshi Anonymous poems
788.-794. 聯句 Lianju Couplets
795.-796. 逸句 Yiju Fragments
797.-802. 名媛 Mingyuan Females
806.-851. Seng Buddhists
852.-855. Dao Daoists
856.-863. Xian Immortals
864. Shen Deities
865.-866. Gui Ghosts
867. Guai Spectres
868. Meng Dreams
869.-872. 諧謔 Xiexue Comedians
873. Pan Rebels
874. Ge Songs
875. 讖記 Chenji Prophesies
876. Yu Talks
877. 諺謎 Yanmi Proverbs and riddles
878. Yao Popular rhymes
879. 酒令 Jiuling Toasts
880. 占辭 Zhanci Oracles
881. 蒙求 Mengqiu Primers
882.-888. 補遺 Buyi Supplement
889.-900. Ci Lyric-metre poetry
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