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Chinese Literature
Yulin 喻林 "The Forest of Metaphors"

The Yulin 喻林 "Forest of metaphors" is an encyclopedia compiled by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Xu Yuantai 徐元太. Xu Yuantai was very interested in metaphors and parables in all types of traditional literature and collected these kinds of literary illustrations over a time period of more than twenty years. The 120 juan "scrolls" long book (according to some sources, between 38 and 80 juan) is divided into 10 chapters dealing with cosmology, politics, human affairs, education, and objects of daily life. The whole book covers 158 themes for which he quoted from more than 400 different books. His citations are very diligent, indicating the name of the book, the author, and even the name and number of the chapter. Inspite of the scholarly effort he put into his compilation, there are a lot of errors in his citations, and he also changed the original text in his quotations.
There oldest print, with a length of 80 juan, was made in 1589. The Yulin in included in the collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書. It has been republished in 1991 by the Shanghai guji press 上海古籍出版, a print from 1615 was reproduced in the same year by the Shanghai cishu press 上海辭書出版社.
There is also a 24 juan long manuscript extract called Yulin yiye 喻林一葉 compiled by the Qing period 清 (1611-1911) scholar Wang Su 王蘇. The preface is dated 1794.
A supplement to the Yulin, the Guang yulin 廣喻林 was compiled by Gu Bosu 顧伯宿. It is 30 juan long and is only preserved as a manuscript.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2047. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤 (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書, pp. 239-240, 352, 20-421. Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe.

造化 Zaohua The creation
人事 Renshi Human affairs
君道 Jundao The way of the ruler
君述 Junshu A description of the ruler
德行 Dexing Virtuous conduct
文章 Wenzhang Literature
學業 Xueye Scholarship
政治 Zhengzhi Politics
性理 Xingli Human nature
物宜 Wuyi Appropriate things
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

February 15, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail