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Zhongwu jiwen 中吳紀聞

Oct 5, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhongwu jiwen 中吳紀聞 is a book on Suzhou 蘇州, Jiangsu, written during the early Southern Song period by Gong Mingzhi 龔明之, courtesy name Xizhong 希仲, style Wuxiu Jushi 五休居士, from Kunshan 崑山, Jiangsu. In the early Chunxi reign-period 淳熙 (1174-1189) he was obtained the status of a classicist (mingjing 明經).

The book, finished in 1182, and having a length of 6 juan, renders famous stories or poems from and about the city of Suzhou, as told Fan Zhongyan 范仲淹 (Fan Wenzhonggong 范文正公, 989-1052), Xu Dong 許洞 (976-1015) or Bai Juyi 白居易 (772-846). It also quotes from other books like Wuzhong shuili shu 吳中水利書. The texts is divided into 225 brief chapters and imitates the structure of Fan Zhen's 范鎮 (1007-1088) Dongzhai jishi 東齋紀事 and Su Shi's 蘇軾 (1037-1101) Zhilin 志林, both being biji 筆記 "brush notes"-style collections of stories. Gong's book is a precious collections because it includes information not found in more often-used local gazetteers like Fan Chengda's 范成大 Wujun zhi 吳郡志.

The transmitted version is a revised edition by Lu Xiong 盧熊 made during the Zhizheng reign-period 至正 (1341-1368/1370) of the late Yuan 元 (1279-1368). It was first printed in the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by the collector Mao Jin 毛晉 (1599-1659), an edition that found entrance into the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書. It is also part of the series Zhibuzuzhai congshu 知不足齋叢書, Baichuan xuehai 百川書志, Xuehai leibian 學海類編, Mohai jinhu 墨海金壺, Zhusi bielu 珠絲別錄, Yueyatang congshu 粵雅堂叢書, Huilu congshu 槐廬叢書, Songfenshi congkan 誦芬室叢刊, Biji xiaoshuo daguan 筆記小說大觀本, Congchu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編, Shuofu 說郛 and Huike Taicang jiuzhi wu zhong 彙刻太倉舊志五種.

Sources:
Wang Zhaoming 王兆明, Fu Langyun 傅朗云, ed. (1991). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Dili 地理卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 47.
Zheng Yunbo 鄭云波, ed. (1992). Zhongguo gudai xiaoshuo cidian 中國古代小說辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 417.