An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Bei shouxing lu 北狩行錄

May 31, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Bei shouxing lu 北狩行錄 "The northern hunting expedition" is a short history of the exile of Emperor Huizong 宋徽宗 (r. 1100-1125) of the Song dynasty 宋 (960-1279) authorship of which was for long attributed to the scholar Cai Tiao 蔡鞗 (b. 1107), a son of minister Cai Jing 蔡京 (1047-1126), and son-in-law of Emperor Huizong, having married Princess Maode 茂德帝姬 (1106-1128).

Cai Tiao is said to have accompanied the retired emperor into exile in northern Manchuria, where he was set in custody by the new masters of north China, the Jurchens, founders of the Jin dynasty 金 (1115-1234). Song historiographers embellished the circumstance of defeat and the humiliating exile by speaking of a "hunting campaign".

The book ends with the statement that the ex-emperor entrusted Cai Tiao with recording the daily life in exile, yet his words are directed towards Wang Ruochong 王若沖. It is therefore probable that Wang was the author of the text, and not Cai Tiao, who at that time was already living in far southern China. Alternatively, Wang might have polished the text of Cai. The bibliographical chapter of the encyclopaedia Wenxian tongkao 文獻通考 lists the names of both – misspelling Cai's name by using the character tao 絛.

The book quotes many poems written by the exiled emperor, some of which quote from the Confucian Classic Chunqiu "Spring and Autum Annals", which the emperor was constantly studying. The merits of the former officials loyally accompanying the ex-ruler are described in detail and given their appropriate judgment. Apparently Huizong had enough funds to spend a lot of money on the purchase of books, like Wang Anshi's 王安石 (1021-1086) diary (Rilu 日錄).

Siku quanshu zongmu tiyao 四庫全書總目提要, 52.
Wen Hongqing 溫洪清, Liao Huaizhi 廖懷志 (2007). "Songren Cai Tiao zhuan Beishou xinglu jishu Hui, Qin er di zai Wuguocheng de qinjin shenghuo 宋人蔡鞗撰《北狩行錄》記述徽欽二帝在五國城的囚禁生活", Heilongjiang shizhi 黑龍江史志, 2007 (8).