An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Nanyue zhi 南越志

Oct 26, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Nanyue zhi 南越志 "A report on Southern Yue" was a local gazetteer and history on the province of Guangdong. It was written by Shen Huaiyuan 沈懷遠, who lived during the Liu-Song period 劉宋 (420-479), and is only preserved in fragments. He was exiled to Guangzhou 廣州 because his wife, a maid of Princess Dongyang 東陽公主, had taken part in a ceremony of sorcery against Emperor Wen宋文帝 (r. 424 – 453). Crown prince Liu Shao 劉邵 (who killed his own father and usurped the throne in 453) ordered to kill Shen Haiyuan, but he was spared and finally pardoned in 464.

The original size of the book is not known. The bibliographical chapter (32-35 Jingji zhi 經籍志) in the dynastic history Suishu 隋書 says it was 8-juan long, the Jiutangshu 舊唐書 (46-47 Jingji zhi) and the 19th-century provincial gazetteer Guangdong tongzhi 廣東通志 say 5, and the catalogue Zhizhai shulu jieti 直齋書錄解題 and that in the Wenxian tongkao 文獻通考 speak of 7 juan.

The original text is lost, but Tao Zongyi 陶宗儀 (1329-1410), Wang Renjun 王仁俊 (1866-1913) and Ye Changchi 葉昌熾 (1849-1917) assembled more than 200 quotations from sources like the encyclopaedias Chuxueji 初學記, Taiping huanyu ji 太平寰宇記 and Taiping yulan 太平御覽. Their reconstruction is found in the series Lingnan gudai fangzhi yiji 嶺南古代方志輯佚 (Luo Wei 駱偉 et al. [ed.], Guangzhou: Guangdong renmin chubanshe, 2002).

In these fragments so much information has survived that it is possible to learn about the place names Fanyu 番禺 (today Guangzhou), Shixing 始興 or Dongguan 東莞, spots like the "city of Zhao Tuo" 趙佗城 (Zhao Tuo being the oldest known ruler over the region), the well of the "kings of Zhao" 趙王井 or the mountains Ma'anshan 馬鞍山 and Luofushan 羅浮山, persons like Bao Jing 鮑靚, Zhao Yu 趙嫗 or Zhou Chang 周敞, or the animals Serranellus subligarius (hailu 海鱸, a kind of grouper), Neophocaena phocaenoides (jiangtun 江豚, the finless porpoise,) and the red snake (hongshe 紅蛇) which are all not found in other sources.

Huang Ming 黃鳴, ed. (1990). Jianming minzu cidian 簡明民族詞典 (Nanning: Guangxi renmin chubanshe), 274.
Huang Yuyun 黃毓芸 (2018). "Liu-Song Shen Huaiyuan Nanyuezhi jiyi de xiangguan wenti 劉宋沈懷遠《南越志》輯佚的相關問題", Tushuguan jie 圖書館界, 2018 (8).
Jiang Yonghong 江永紅 (2016). "Nansong Shen Huaiyuan Nanyuezhi kaolun 南朝宋沈懷遠《南越志》考論", Zhongguo difangzhi 中國地方志, 2016 (6).
Lin Zixiong 林子雄 (2006). "Nanyuezhi 南越志, in Lingnan wenhua baike quanshu bianji weiyuanhui 《嶺南文化百科全書》編輯委員會, ed. Lingnan wenhua baike quanshu 嶺南文化百科全書 (Beijing: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 811.
Luo Wei 駱偉 (2000). "Nanyuezhi jilu 《南越志》輯錄", Guangdong shizhi 廣東史志, 2000 (8).