An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Lidai zaifu huikao 歷代宰輔彙考

Jan 19, 2014 © Ulrich Theobald

Lidai zaifu huikao 歷代宰輔彙考 "Collected investigations to the history of the Counsellor-in-Chief" is a study to the office of the highest state office written by the early Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Wan Sitong 萬斯同 (1638-1702), who participated in the compilation of a draft to the history of the Ming dynasty 明 (1368-1644), the Mingshigao 明史稿. Because of this work he was very familiar with historiographical sources to the Ming dynasty, like local gazetteers, the capital gazette (dibao 邸報), unofficial histories or private chronicles. He is also author of a phonetic study, the Shengyun yuanliu kao 聲韻源流考, a history of Neo-Confucian schools, the Rulin zongpai 儒林宗派, and the tabulary chronicle Lidai shibiao 歷代史表.

His 8-juan long study covers all holders of the office of Counsellor-in-chief (chengxiang 丞相, zaifu 宰輔) and his staff from the Qin 秦 (221-206 BCE) to the end of the Ming period. Because the number of officials in this section of the central administration changed over time, the tables differ from historical period to period, and are annotated concering these changes. A shortcoming of his book is that Wan Sitong does not say when a particular person was appointed and left his office, which is a kind of information normally to be found in the tables in the official dynastic histories.

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. 1, 1421.