An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Baishi liutie shilei ji 白氏六帖事類集

Oct 31, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Baishi liutie 白氏六帖

The Baishi liutie shilei ji 白氏六帖事類集 "Master Bai's collection of categorized matters in six tablets", shortly Baishi liutie 白氏六帖 and also known with the title Baishi jingshi shilei liutie 白氏經史事類六帖 "Master Bai's categorized matters of the Classics and of historiography in six tablets", is an encyclopaedia written during the Tang period 唐 (618-907) by the writer and politician Bai Juyi 白居易 (772-846), who is otherwise famous for his poetry. The book is also known under the names Baishi jingshi shilei 白氏經史事類, Baishi jingwen shilei 白氏經文事類, Baishi jingshi shilei liutie 白氏經史事類六帖, Shilei jiyao 事類集要, or, together with a supplement, Bai-Kong liutie 白孔六帖 "The six tablets of the Masters Bai and Kong".

The Baishi liutie has a length of 30 juan and deals with 1,130 topics (plus 503 smaller themes appended) from all fields of knowledge. The topics dealt with in the Baishi liutie are explained in 235 introductory "general topics" (zongmu 總目). The headlines are largely identical to that in the older encyclopaedia Yiwen leiju 藝文類聚, and the selection of sources and literary allusions is similar to the Beitang shuchao 北堂書抄. The later compilation date made it possible that the Liutie shilei ji included more quotations from Tang-period sources. The encyclopaedia was created by collecting suggestions of the most important allusions found in literature. The participants of this collection wrote their suggestions on lots that were deposed in a jar, each jar representing a topic to be discussed.

The book title goes back to handwritten notes made in preparation of the state examinations which were written on wooden tablets (tie 帖), according to the six fields of classic literature, a practice continued later on. Another theory about the origin of the title speaks of six faces of the printing block by which the six volumes of the first edition were printed.

The arrangement of the Baishi liutie is rated as relatively chaotic, and therefore, Chao Zhongde 晁仲德 wrote a commentary during Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) in order to help the reader with the interpretation of the entries and lemmata.

The designation liutie had a great influence on later, mostly Song-period 宋 (960-1279), encyclopaedias, as Hou liutie 後六帖, Liutie bu 六帖補 by Yang Boyan 楊伯嵓 (楊伯巖), Liutie xuelin 六帖學林, Tang guang liutie xuelin 唐廣六帖學林, or Qianhan liutie 前漢六帖. The Song-period scholar Kong Chuan 孔傳 (1065-1139) has written an extension which is commonly printed together with Bai Juyi's basic version, then using the title Bai-Kong liutie.

There was a Song-period print in 6 thread-bound volumes which imitate the Tang period note boards (tie). It has been reproduced in 1993 xxx by Master Zhang 張氏 from Wuxing 吳興 with the voluminous title Baishi liutie shilei ji. A Master Wang 汪氏 from Wumen 吳門 published the combined books with the title of Tang-Song Bai-Kong liutie. There is also a Song-period edition of the combined version kept by Yang Xingwu 楊惺吾. It is also included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書. A modern reprint was published in 1987 by the Wenwu Press 文物出版社, based on the Song print by Master Fu 傅氏 from Jiang'an 江安.

Quotation 1. Beginning of the Baishi liutie 白氏六帖 chapter on the moon
坎爲月。(易) [The hexagram] "Perilous Pit" corresponds to the moon. (Yijing)
月者太陰之精。(淮南子) The moon is the essence of the Great Obscuration. (Huainanzi)
月光于西。(禮) The moon glows in the west. (Liji)
夜光。(月名) The glow of the night. (Designation of the moon.)
望舒。(月御) Full moon replenished. (The moon carriage.)
月出皎兮。 The moon comes forth in her brightness. [Shijing 詩經]
如月之縆。(月上弦而就盈) Like the moon advancing to the full. (The waxing and waning of the moon.) [Shijing]
照臨。(下土) Brilliant beams facing (the earth below).
三辰、三光、七曜。(并月居其一) (The first among) the Three Shining ones, the Three Brilliant ones, and the Seven Stars.
盈必毀,天之道也。 Fullness must vanish – this is the way of Heaven.
三五而盈。(三五而缺) It [starts] waxing (and waning) after 15 [days].
成象。(在天成象) It becomes a visible phenomenon (in the sky).
無私照。 No place it does not illuminate.
代明。(日月代明) Light in alteration (with the sun).
三日成魄。(鄉飲酒禮三讓象月三日而成魄) After three days, there is reappearance [of the new moon] (like during the drinking rituals of the villages, when a beaker is renounced thrice [before accepting it]).
金精。陰靈。(月賦月以陰靈) Golden essence. Spirit of the Obscuration (is transmitted from one month to the next).
蒖莢。(晦朔應月而生落) The [magic] zhenjia plant [which produces new, sequential series of fruit pods in the course of every month]. ([To] the last [and from the] first day of each month, the moon will rise and fall in [daily] stages.)
桂華。(月中有仙桂樹) Flower of (the moon's) osmanthus (fairy tree).
玉鉤。金波。蛾眉。(纎纎似玉鉤娟娟若蛾眉謂初月) (The early moon, fine as) a jade hook, a golden wave, moth-[antenna] eyebrows.
破環。破鏡。(飛上天謂殘月) (Flying up in the sky, the fragmentary moon like) a broken ring, a broken mirror.
如圭。(秋月如圭) Jade sceptre (of the autumn moon).
隨灰之暈。(淮南子:隨灰而月暈缺,注云以蘆灰環月缺其一面則月暈亦缺) (When a picture is traced out) with the ashes (of reeds), the (moon's) halo (has a corresponding gap). (Huainanzi)

Shishi liutie 釋氏六帖 "The Monk's Six Tablets"

The Shishi liutie 釋氏六帖 is a Buddhist encyclopaedia written during the Five Dynasties period 五代 (907-960) by the monk Yichu 義楚. It is also called Shishi zuanyao liutie 釋氏纂要六帖 or Yichu liutie 義楚六帖. The 24-juan-long book was finished in 954. It includes 50 chapters treating 440 themes. In its arrangement, the Shishi liutie imitated Bai Juyi's 白居易 (772-846) book Baishi liutie 白氏六帖, but the content is focused on Buddhist literature, from sutras to vinayas. It also occasionally includes quotations from non-Buddhist sources. Virtually all important aspects of Buddhism are treated in this encyclopaedia. It value lies in the encyclopedic character which provides an overview of all themes, and in the quotation of otherwise lost books.

The earliest prints are from 973 and 1103. It has been republished in 1990 by the Zhejiang Guji Press 浙江古籍出版社.

Hou liutie 後六帖 or Kongshi liutie 孔氏六帖

The Hou liutie 後六帖, also called Kongshi liutie 孔氏六帖, Liutie xinshu 六帖新書 or Xu liutie 續六帖, is a supplement to the encyclopaedia Liutie 六帖 by Bai Juyi 白居易 (772-846), the so-called Baishi liutie 白氏六帖. The Hou liutie was written during the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) by Kong Chuan 孔傳 (1065-1139), who also compiled the books Dongjia zaji 東家雜記, Kongzi biannian 孔子編年 and Shanxiji 杉溪集.

The Kongshi liutie has a length of 30 juan and is divided into 1,387 topics. The sources reach from the Tang period 唐 (618-907) to the year 1162. Kong Chuan took over the categories used by Bai Juyi, but he also added some new topics not covered in the Baishi liutie. Both books together provide an excellent overview of Tang- and early Song-period literature by the many quotations of poems and prose literature recorded in them. In the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, the two books of Bai Juyi and Kong Chuan are unified to the Bai-Kong liutie 白孔六帖 or Tang-Song Bai-Kong liutie 唐宋白孔六帖, with a length of 100 juan and dealing with 1,399 topics.

Liutie bu 六帖補 or Yangshi liutie 楊氏六帖

The Liutie bu 六帖補, also called Yangshi liutie 楊氏六帖, is a supplement to Bai Juyi's 白居易 (772-846) encyclopaedia Liutie 六帖 and Kong Chuan's 孔傳 (1065-1139) Hou liutie 後六帖. It was written during the Song period 宋 (960-1279) by Yang Boyan 楊伯巖. Yang has written a phonetic commentary to the nine Confucian Classics, Jiujing buyun 九經補韻.

The Liutie bu has a length of 20 juan, each covering one topic, for which Yang selected mainly Song-period poems. It is not very easy to detect the sources Yang Boyan has made use of, because most of them were never included in other literary collections. He apparently made use of rare manuscripts.

The Liutie bu was printed during the Song period, a print of which Master Lu 陸氏 from Yunjian 雲間 has made facsimile. It is also included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Other books

The Bashi liutie 八詩六帖 "Six tablets of the eight poets" is an anthology of Tang- 唐 (618-907) and Song-period 宋 (960-1279) poems. The Bashi liutie is attributed to a Song-period writer called "Primus Wang" (Wang Zhuangyuan 王狀元). The poems assembled in the 29-juan-long book have been written by eight famous poets, namely Li Bai 李白 (701-762), Du Fu 杜甫 (712-770), Han Yu 韓愈 (768-824), Liu Zongyuan 柳宗元 (773-819) from the Tang period and and Ouyang Xiu 歐陽修 (1007-1072), Wang Anshi 王安石 (1021-1086), Su Shi 蘇軾 (1037-1101) and Huang Tingjian 黃庭堅 (1045-1105) from the Song period. The quality of the Bashi liutie has been rated as very mediocre because many poems have not been copied in total but only parts of them, and the sequence and coherence of chapters suffers from a striking lack of planned arrangement.

The Bashi liutie has been preserved in fragments quoted in the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) encyclopaedia Yongle dadian 永樂大典.

Qianhan liutie 前漢六帖 "The six tablets on the Former Han [period? writings? poetry?]" was an encyclopaedia compiled by the Song-period 宋 (960-1279) writer Chen Tianlin 陳天麟. It had a length of 12 juan, but is lost.

Dushi liutie 杜詩六帖 was an encyclopedia on the poetry of the Tang-period 唐 (618-907) poet Du Fu 杜甫 (or Du Mu 杜牧?). It was written during the Song period by Chen Yingxing 陳應行 (fl. 1126). It had a length of 18 juan and is lost.

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