An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Jianyan yilai chaoye zaji 建炎以來朝野雜記

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Jianyan yilai chaoye zaji 建炎以來朝野雜記 "Miscellaneous notes on inner and outer politics since the Jianyan reign-period (1127-1130)" is a collection of documents on statecraft from the beginning of the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) period. Jianyan 建炎 (1127-1130) was the first reign motto of the Southern Song.

The book consists of two parts and 20 juan. It was compiled by Li Xinchuan 李心傳 (1167-1244), courtesy name Weizhi 微之 or Bowei 伯微, style Xiuyan Xiansheng 秀嚴先生, and published in 1202 (jiaji 甲集 "first collection") resp. 1216 (yiji 乙集 "second collection"). Both collections cover 13 categories and include 605 stories from officials at the court.

Until Li began with his book, a high amount of material had not been used in the common handbooks on administration, like the Wenxian tongkao 文獻通考, Qunshu kaosuo 群書考索, or the official dynastic history Songshi 宋史.

After the experience of the flight of the Song court to the south, many scholars and literati reflected the reasons of the downfall of the Northern Song 北宋 (960-1126) and tried to explain their faults and to propose better measures for a well-functioning government in all aspects of civil, military, jurisdiction, local administration, rituals and functions at the imperial court (chao 朝) and in the regions (ye 野) of the empire. The Chaoye zaji is therefore a deepgoing political encyclopeadia of the Song period that reflects all practical experiences of the Song government during the first decades after the catastrophy of the Northern Song's end.

The practical politics and outcomings of the experiences are described in a parallel work also written by Li Xinchuan, called Jianyan yilai xinian yaolu 建炎以來繫年要錄 "An annual record of the most important events since the Jianyan reign". Both books can be used as complement to each other, the last written as a chronicle, the first resuming events and edicts thematically.

There are several prints available, one in the imperial library in the Wuying Hall 武英殿 in the Imperial Palace, one print published by Sun Xinghua 孫星華, and one by the Shangwu Yinshuguan Press 商務印書館.

Table 1. Contents of the Jianyan yilai chaoye zaji 建炎以來朝野雜記
甲集 Jiaji First collection
1 上德 The virtue of the emperor
2 郊廟 The ancestral shrines and state altars
3 典禮 Statutes and rituals
4 製作 Imperial writings
5-6 朝事 Matters of the court
7 時事 Matters of the time
8 故事 Old rules
9 雜事 Miscellaneous matters
10-12 官制 The system of state officials
13 取士 Recruitment of state officials
14-17 財賦 Fiscal matters
18 兵馬 Military and horse administration
19-20 邊防 Border defence
乙集 Yiji Second collection
1-3 上德 The virtue of the emperor
4 典禮 Statutes and rituals
5 制作 Imperial writings
6-7 朝事 Matters of the court
8-10 時事 Matters of the time
11 故事 Old rules
12 雜事 Miscellaneous matters
13-14 官制 The system of state officials
15 取士 Recruitment of state officials
16 財賦 Fiscal matters
17 兵馬 Military and horse administration
18-20 邊防 Border defence
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