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Chinese Literature
Yongzhuang xiaopin 涌幢小品 "A Minuscule Book from the Yongzhuang Studio"


The Yongzhuang xiaopin 涌幢小品 "Minuscule (or: unworthy) book from the Yongzhuang Studio" is a "brush notes" essay-style (biji 筆記) book from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644), with a length of 33 juan "scrolls". The author is Zhu Guozhen 朱國禎 (died 1632), a high official of the Ming central government. The book was finished in 1621 and had originally the name of Xi Hong xiaopin 希洪小品, in remembrance of Hong Mai’s 洪邁 book Rongzhai suibi 容齋隨筆 but was later renamed after Zhu had built his new Yongzhuang studio.
The content of the Yongzhuan xiaopin is mainly political and deals with a lot of issues of contemporary politics. Zhu Guozhen reports a lot of affairs of the central government, not only concrete cases and how they were dealt with, but also going into the general structure of the administration, as well as stories of personalities and general customs in the Ming capital of Beijing. He talks also of matters beyond the capital, like the problem of piracy at China's coast and peasant uprisings. As part of a private history written by an insider the stories in the Yongzhuang xiaopin are quite reliable.
The first printing was done during the Tianqi reign 天啟 (1621-1627). It was republished in 1959 by the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局.


Source: Xie Guozhen 謝國楨, Wei Zuhui 韋祖輝 (1992). "Yongzhuang xiaopin 涌幢小品", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史, vol. 3, p. 1414. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.

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September 15, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail