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Shicheng kaowu 史乘考誤

Feb 5, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald

Shicheng kaowu 史乘考誤 "Research on errors in history books" is a critique on historiography written by the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) writer Wang Shizhen 王世貞 (1562-1590), courtesy name Yuanmei 元美, style Fengzhou 鳳洲 or Yanzhou shanren 弇州山人. He hailed from Taicang 太倉, Jiangsu, and was secretary in the Ministry of Justice (xingbu zhushi 刑部主事). Because his father was killed he had to quit this post and returned home. Later on he served in the administration of several provinces and was then promoted to the post of Chamberlain for the Imperial Stud (taipu qing 太仆卿) in Beijing, and then Minister of Justice ( 刑部尚書) in Nanjing.

Wang Shizhen was a famous writer and a member of the "Later Seven Masters" (hou qi zi 後七子) who were of the opinion that the heyday of prose writings was the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE), and that of poetry the Tang 唐 (618-907). Wang wrote numerous books, like the biographic collection Jiajing yilai shoufu zhuan 嘉靖以來首輔傳. His collected writings are called Yanzhou shanren sibu gao 弇州山人四部稿 and Shushantang bieji 忬山堂別集.

The 10-juan long Shicheng kaowu is divided into two parts, the first one (Ershi kao 二史考) explaining the difference between official histories (guoshi 國史) and unofficial histories (yeshi 野史), the second one (Jiacheng kao 家乘考) focusing on private historiography.

The Shicheng kaowu is part of the collection Shushantang bieji (Yanshantang bieji 弇山堂別集).

Sources:
Jiang Shengli 姜勝利 (1997). "Wang Shizhen yu Shicheng kaowu 王世貞與《史乘考誤》", Hainan Daxue xuebao (Shehui kexue ban) 海南大學學報(社會科學版), 1997 (6).
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 1523.
Wang Shichao 王世超 (2017). "Lun Shicheng kaowu de kaoju yu wenxian jiazhi 論《史乘考誤》的考據與文獻價值", Jiujiang Xueyuan xuebao (Shehui kexue ban) 九江學院學報(社會科學版), 2017 (3).
Yang Yu 楊玉, Xing Yongge 邢永革 (2013). "Cong Shicheng kaowu kann Wang Shizhen de wenxian kaozheng fangfa 從《史乘考誤》看王世貞的文獻考證方法", Tianzhong xuekan 天中學刊, 2013 (10).