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Libu yunlüe 禮部韻略 "Concise Rhymes from the Ministry of Rites"

The Liubu yunlüe 禮部韻略 "Concise rhymes from the Ministry of Rites" is a dictionary with characters arranged phonetically according to a rhyme system. It was compiled on imperial order by the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) scholar Ding Du 丁度 and was finished in 1037. It was develepod from a draft written during the reign of Emperor Zhenzong 宋真宗 (r. 997-1022) called Yunlüe 韻略 because it was shorter and more concise than contemporary dictionaries like the Jiyun 集韻 or Guangyun 廣韻 because it was to be used for the preparation of the state examinations. These examinations were conducted by the Ministry of Rites. It contains 9,590 characters arranged in 206 rhyme groups. The book has never attracted a wide scholarly interest because the rhyme groups are identical to the Jiyun, and like the Jiyun, it remarks if a rhyme is used for one factual rhyme group alone (duyong 獨用) or as a unifier for several obsolete rhyme groups (tongyong 統用). The original dictionary is lost, but two versions of 5 juan "scrolls" length survive. The first version has two prefaces, the first was written by Yuan Wenyu 袁文焴 in 1230, the second by Guo Shouzheng 郭守正 in 1264. This version, the commentary to which was compiled by Ouyang Xiude 歐陽德隆, is called Fushi jiao huzhu Libu yunlüe 附釋交互注禮部韻略 or Zengxiu jiaozheng yayun shiyi 增修校正押韻釋疑, contains phonetic explanations in the official language (guanhua 官話, hence called guanzhu 官注 "official notes"), as well as remarks to it (huzhu 互注 "mutual comment") in respect to the vernacular language. There is another version surviving with the same size, which was revised and commented by the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) scholar Mao Huang 毛晃. It was printed by his son Mao Juzheng 毛居正 in a text-critical edition under the title Zengxiu huzhu Libu yunlüe 增修互注禮部韻略 and submitted to the throne in 1162. It contains 2,655 characters more than the original, as well as 1,691 character variants (called juanzi 圈字 because they were marked with a circle). There are no modern prints of the Yunlüe.
In 1252 Liu Yuan 劉淵 published a revised edition of the Liubu yinlue, the Renzi xinkan Libu yunlüe 壬子新刊禮部韻略. In this version the number of rhyme groups was diminished to 107, in accordance with the rhymes factually used. This editions demonstrates the simplification of the phonology of late Middle Chinese. The Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) scholars Huang Gongshao 黃公紹 and Xiong Zhong 熊忠, authors of the 古今韻會舉要, eliminated a further rhyme (拯 rhymes included into the group 迥) to a structure of 106 rhymes (the so-called Pingshui rhymes 平水韻, see Guangyun rhymes 廣韻). This system was to serve as the basic rhyme system for modern Chinese that was in use until the end of the Qing period 清 (1644-1911). It is adopted in Qing period books like the Peiwen yunfu 佩文韻府.

Cao Shujing 曹述敬 (1988). "Yunshu 韻書", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Yuyan wenzi 語言文字, p. 505-508. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.
Yu Min 俞敏 (1988). "Pingshuiyun 平水韻", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Yuyan wenzi 語言文字, p. 308. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.

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December 20, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail