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Chinese Literature
Yuanliu zhilun 源流至論 "Exhausting Discussion of all Developments"


The Yuanliu zhilun 源流至論 "Exhausting discussion of all developments", also called Gujin yuanliu zhilun 古今源流至論, is a series of four encyclopedic collections compiled by the late Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) authors Lin Dong 林駧 (also written Lin Jiong 林駉) and Huang Lüweng 黃履翁. Lin is the author of the first three collections (qianji 前集, houji 後集, xuji 續集), and Huang that of the fourth, supplementary collection (bieji 別集). Each of the collections is 10 juan "scrolls" long. Because of the sequencial compilation in different parts, the encyclopedia is also called Gujin yuanliu zhilun 古今源流至論. The incentive of the Yuanliu zhilun is to provide a handbook to terms of the Confucian classics, the books of history and that of the various "masters and philosophers", and especially the Neo-Confucians, in a comparative perspective. With the help of his records, Lin Dong wanted to compare congruences and contradictions between the various texts, as a preparation for the state examinations. The book also contains a lot of information on the state rituals and the state constitution of the Song period and is therefore of great importance for the study of this field.
The book has been compiled after 1085, when the state examinations did not any more include tests on poetry, but replaced it with a political essay (celun 策論). The knowledge of the state and its institutions therefore was essential for success in the examinations, and a lot of students compiled their own handbooks during the preparation.
There is a print by Zhang Muyuan 張目元 from the Yanyou reign 延祐 (1314-1320), another print from the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) preserved in the Zhenqi Studio 振綺堂, and the edition in the collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書.


Sources:
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2042. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤 (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書, pp. 120-121. Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe.


Chinese literature according to the four-category system

December 15, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail