An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Youxue qionglin 幼學瓊林

Nov 19, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Youxue qionglin 幼學瓊林 "Jade forest of primary education" is a textbook for primary eduction written in rhymes. It consists of two parts, the first written by the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Cheng Dengji 程登吉, courtesy name Yunsheng 允升, the second by the Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Zou Shengmai 鄒聖脈 (1691-1762), courtesy name Yiyan 宜彦, style Wugang 梧岡.

Cheng's original book was called Youxue 幼學, Youxue xuzhi 幼學須知, Chengyu kao 成語考 or Gushi xunyuan 故事尋源, in various editions. The full name Youxue qionglin or Youxue gushi qionglin 幼學故事瓊林 was created by Zou for the basic text and his own additions. There is also a commentary by Qian Yuanlong 錢元龍 called Youxue xuzhi jujie 幼學須知句解 and one by Dong Chengzhong 董成重 called Youxue qiuyuan 幼學求源.

The Youxue qionglin is a kind of resumme of all important traditional writings, using a lot of older texts, but it also goes beyond the limits of its forerunners and has a very comprehensive character. Unlike older texts it is not bound to four-syllable verses as a method to memorize things. The text is written in prose, but often in paired sentences, without adhering to a very strict principle of rhymes, as older books of primary education did. The book is divided into 30 chapters providing an excellent, encyclopaedic overview of all aspects of nature and human life, from history and human relations to astronomy, geography, the administrative system, clothing, food, palaces, tools and objects, precious stones, diseases and funeral matters, state examinations, the arts, jurisdiction, Daoism and Buddhism, animals and plants.

The Youxue qionglin was very popular during the Qing period and experienced a lot of publications. It was a basic textbook for primary education, side by side with the much more famous Sanzijing 三字經 and Bajiaxing 百家姓.

Table 1. Contents of the Youxue qionglin 幼學瓊林
天文 Tianwen Astronomy
地輿 Diyu Geography
歲時 Suishi Time
朝廷ChaotingThe court
文臣WenchenMinisters and officials
武職WuzhiMilitary officials
祖孫父子Zusun fuziAncestors and grandsons, father and son
兄弟XiongdiOlder and younger brother
夫婦FufuHusband and wife
叔侄ShuzhiUncle and nephew
師生ShishengTeacher and pupil
朋友賓主Pengyou binzhuFriends; guests and hosts
外戚WaiqiKinsmen of a wife
老幼壽誕Laoyou shoudanYoung and old age
身體ShentiThe body
人事RenshiHuman affairs
飲食YinshiDrinking and eating
器用QiyongTools and objects
貧富PinfuPoor and rich
疾病死喪Bingji sisangIllness and death
技藝JiyiArts and skills
釋道鬼神Shi dao guishenBuddhism, Daoism, ghosts and deities
鳥獸NiaoshouBirds and beasts
花木HuamuFlowers and trees
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Huang Baoquan 黃寳權 (2016). "Tongmeng duwu Youxue qionglin bianzuan tedian tanxi 童蒙讀物《幼學瓊林》編纂特點探析", Lantai shijie 蘭台世界, 2016 (11).
Jia Zhongfeng 賈忠峰 (2018). "Youxue qionglin de xungu shijian ji yuyanxue jiazhi 《幼學瓊林》的訓詁實踐及語言學價值", Tianzhong xuekan 天中學刊, 2018 (9).
Jiang Wenmin 姜文閔, Han Zongli 韓宗禮, ed. (1988). Jianming jiaoyu cidian 簡明教育辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin jiaoyu chubanshe), 116.
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Yang Maoyi 楊茂義 (2018). "Youxue qionglin de shizi jiaoxue linian 《幼學瓊林》的識字教學理念", Dangdai jiaoyan luncong 當代教研論叢, 2018 (11).
Zhou Fazeng 周發增, Chen Longtao 陳隆濤, Qi Jixiang 齊吉祥, ed. (1998). Zhongguo gudai zhengzhi zhidu cidian 中國古代政治制度史辭典 (Beijing: Shoudu shifan daxue chubanshe), 444.