An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Gonggui xiaoming lu 宮閨小名錄

Jun 20, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Gonggui xiaoming lu 宮閨小名錄 "Childhood names of the boudoir" is a collection of childhood names of women through history compiled during the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by the historian You Tong 尤侗 (1618-1704), courtesy name Tongren 同人 or Zhancheng 展成, style Huai'an 悔庵, Genzhai 艮齋 or Xitang Laoren 西堂老人, from Changzhou 長洲 (today part of Suzhou 蘇州, Jiangsu). He was examining editor (jiantao 檢討) in the Hanlin Academy (Hanlinyuan 翰林院), and served the Kangxi Emperor 康熙帝 (r. 1661-1722) as expositor-in-waiting (shijiang 侍講) during the imperial southern tours (nanxun 南巡).

It has a length of 4 juan and is divided into 4 chapters. The book is compiled as a kind of supplement to earlier texts on childhood names that specialize on women, from authors like Lu Guimeng 陸龜蒙 (d. 881), Hong Shi 洪適 (1117-1184), Wang Zhi 王銍 (fl. 1134; Shi'er xiaoming lu 侍兒小名錄, Bu shi'er xiaoming lu 補侍兒小名錄), Wen Yu 溫豫 (Xubu shi'er xiaoming lu 續補侍兒小名錄) or Zhang Bangji 張邦基 (b. c. 1113; Shi'er xiaoming lu shiyi 侍兒小名錄拾遺). Even if You's book is a collection of stories or short biographies, it has the character of an encyclopaedia because all persons are arranged into “professional” categories. The text includes names of widely known persons but does not add more information. Poems are an important source for You Tong's information. Surprisingly, some important characters known from famous poems are not included in the book, like Liu Lanzhi 劉蘭芝 (Jiao Zhongqing's 焦仲卿 spouse in the poem Kongque dongnan fei 孔雀東南飛) or Zuo Si's 左思 (c. 250-305) daughters Zuo Wansu 左紈素 and Zuo Huifang 左蕙芳 (左惠芳) mentioned in his poem Jiaonü shi 嬌女詩.

There is a supplement written by Yu Huai 余懷 (1616-1696) from Minxian 閩縣, Fujian, usually attached to You Tong's core text. It is called Gonggui xiaoming houlu 宮閨小名後錄 or Gonggui xiaominglu houbian 宮閨小名錄後編.

The book is included in You Tong's collected works Xitang quanji 西堂全集.

Table 1. Contents of the Gonggui xiaoming lu 宮閨小名錄
1 后妃 Empresses and consorts
公主 Princesses
外戚 Relatives of empresses
宮婢 Palace women
乳保 Foster mothers
補遺 Supplement
2 節女 Women of chastity
列女 Outstanding women
孝女 Women of filialty
貞女 Women of virtue
才女 Women of talent
補遺 Supplement
3 Wives and secondary consorts
Slave girls
歌姬 Singresses
4 妓女 Singsong girls
5 外國 Foreign women
Pirate women
士官 Women in offices
寇盜妻妾附 Wives of pirates and bandits (app.)
補遺 Supplement
劍俠 Heroines of the sword
尼姑 Buddhist nuns
道士 Daoist nuns
補遺 Supplement
6 宮閨小名後錄 Supplement of Yu Huai 余懷
Zheng Yunbo 鄭雲波, ed. (1992). Zhongguo gudai xiaoshuo cidian 中國古代小說辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 498.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤, ed. (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe), 391-392.