An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Yanzhou shanren sibu gao 弇州山人四部稿

Feb 5, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald

Yanzhou shanren sibu gao 弇州山人四部稿 is a collection of writings by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) writer Wang Shizhen 王世貞 (1562-1590). The main collection (zhenggao 正稿) consists of 174 juan, a large supplement (xugao 續稿) of 207 juan. The book was first printed in 1577 by Wang himself in his Shijingtang 世經堂 printing shop. The table of contents alone is 12-juan long. The "four parts" do not correspond to the traditional four categories of literature, but of rhapsodies (Fubu 賦部), poems (Shibu 詩部), prose writings (Wenbu 文部) and "accounts" (Shuobu 說部). The latter is again divided into seven different sections, namely Zhaji neipian 札記內篇, Zhaji waipian 札記外篇, Zuoyi 左逸, Duanchang 短長, Yiyuan zhiyan 藝苑卮言, Yiyuan fulu 卮言附錄, and Wanwei yupian 宛委餘篇. In some later editions the main collection is enlarged by two more texts, namely Yanyu 燕語 and Yeshi jiacheng kaowu 野史家乘考誤 (part of the historiograpy critique Shicheng kaowu 史乘考誤). The preface to the main collection was written by Wang Daokun 汪道昆. The supplementary collection is the harvest of Wang Shizhen's writings after retirement, and has the purpose of instructing his youngest son Wang Shijun 王士駿. It was first printed by Wang's grandson during the Chongzhen reign 崇禎 (1628-1644). The table of contents is 10-juan long. The Xugao consists of three parts, namely rhapsodies, poems, and prose writings.
The two books were very popular, and several extracts of it circulated during the Qing period 清 (1644-1911). The most important of these are Shen Yiguan's 沈一貫 Yanzhou shanren sibu gao xuan 弇州山人四部稿選, 16-juan long and presenting texs from both collections, and Gu Qiyuan's 顧起元 Yanzhou shanren xugao xuan 弇州山人續稿選 of 38 juan of selected texts of the supplementary collection. Both collections of Wang Shizhen are included in the collectanea Siku quanshu 四庫全書. The two extract versions (shortly called Yanzhougao xuan 弇州稿選) were appended to the main texts in Wang's private print from the Wanli reign 萬曆 (1573-1619).

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, 2495, 2510.