An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Chudelu 畜德錄

Sep 23, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

There are two books with the title Chudelu 畜德錄 "Records of Raising Virtue", one written by the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Chen Yi 陳沂 (1469-1538), and one by the late Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) teacher Xu Qitu 席啓圖. Both are treatises on comportment in the Confucian sense.

The writer Chen Yi 陳沂, courtesy name Zonglu 宗魯, style Shiting 石亭, hailed from Shangyuan 上元 (near modern Nanjing 南京, Jiangsu), obtained his jinshi degree during the Zhengde reign-period 正德 (1506-1521) and was then appointed Hanlin bachelor (shujishi 庶吉士). He first rose to the office of junior compiler (bianxiu 編修), then that of expositor-in-waiting (shijiang 侍講), and was then transferred to the province as assistant administrator (canzheng 參政) of Jiangxi, later of Shandong. He was called one of the "three masters from Jinling (i.e. Nanjing)" (Jinling san jun 金陵三俊), the others being Gu Lin 顧璘 (1476-1545) and Wang Wei 王韋 (c. 1470). Chen Yi was a fine painter and poet and even dared to call himself the "lesser Su Dongpo" (Xiaopo 小坡). He wrote the two books Jinling gujin tukao 金陵古今圖考 and Jinling shiji 金陵世紀, the first being a geography, and the second a historiographical report of Nanjing. His collected writings are called Chen Xingqing ji 陳行卿集 and Weizhenlu 維楨錄.

His book Chudelu is a description of the words and the conduct of important scholar-officials during the Xuande 宣德 (1426-1435) and Zhengtong 正統 (1436-1449) reign-periods. The short stories are mainly based on the information that Chen Yi's grandfather provided to him about the courtiers in the secondary capital Nanjing. The stories were aimed to serve as a mirror for the excellent comportment and virtuous conduct of contemporaries.

Xu Qitu 席啓圖, courtesy name Wenyu 文輿, hailed from Zhenze 震澤 (modern Wujiang 吳江, Jiangsu) and was a secretary in the Grand Secretariat (neige zhongshu 內閣中書). His 20 juan-long Chudelu quotes extensively from ancient writings to show how excellent words and good conduct (jiayan shanxing 嘉言善行) function, as demonstrated at the hand of twenty-one different patterns of behaviour.

The Chudelu of Xu Qitu was published by Zhou Fu's 周馥 Shigu Hall 師古堂, while that of Chen Yi is to be found in the series Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編. It is also quoted in extracts in the collection Shuofu 說郛.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1006, 2023.