An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Jianyan yilai xinian yaolu 建炎以來繫年要錄

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Jianyan yilai xinian yaolu 建炎以來繫年要錄 "Annual records of the most important events since the Jianyan reign-period" is a document of event history of the early Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279). Jianyan 建炎 (1127–1130) was the first reign motto of the Southern Song. The book is 200-juan long and was written by Li Xinchuan 李心傳 (1167 –1240, courtesy name Weizhi 微之 or Bowei 伯微, style Xiuyan xiansheng 秀嚴先生). Li Xinchuan's father served as archivist in the southern capital Lin'an 臨安 (modern Hangzhou 杭州, Zhejiang), and Xinchuan therefore took an early interest in history and its background.

He started compiling a large book on the history of the first decades of the Southern Song that covered the years from the flight of the Song court to the south in 1127, until 1162. Li Xinchuan used a vast treasure of sources from official documents to private writings by various state officials. The Xinian yaolu is written in the same style as Li Tao's 李燾 Xu Zizhi tongjian changbian 續資治通鑑長編. It covers many aspects of politics, military affairs, economy and culture during the reign of Emperor Gaozong 宋高宗 (r. 1127–1162) and contains many reports about the relationship between the Song empire and its northern neighbour, the empire of Jin 金 (1115-1234) that occupied northern China.

As the Xinian yaolu is not a pure collection of original sources, but rather rewrites and reports events and the content of documentary sources, it is necessary to use it as a supplement to the book Sanchao beimeng huibian 三朝北盟會編 by Xu Mengxin 徐夢莘 that reports much more directly on the base of primary sources.

Because practical politics and eventual outcomings of political decisions are minutely described in the Xinian yaolu, it is interesting to compare it with and to use it as a complement to Li Xinchuan's second great book, Jianyan yilai chaoye zaji 建炎以來朝野雜記, which is a kidn of large encyclopaedia on statecraft of the early Southern Song court.

The text of the Xinian yaolu is found in the series Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編, Guangya shuju congshu 廣雅書局叢書 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Table 1. Contents of the Jianyan yilai xinian yaolu 建炎以來繫年要錄
1.-40. 建炎 Jianyan reign-period (1127-1130)
41.-200. 紹興 Shaoxing reign-period (1131-1162)
Chen Lesu 陳樂素 (1992). "Jianyan yilai xinian yaolu 建炎以來繫年要錄", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 434.