An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Shujian 蜀鑒

Feb 20, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Shujian 蜀鑒 "Mirror of Shu" is a history of the province of Sichuan (old name: Shu) written during the Song period 宋 (960-1279). The author of the book is not known, but in the preface of the transmitted version, Fang Xiaoru 方孝孺 (1357-1402) says that a certain Li Wenzi 李文子, once taking office in Sichuan, collected all kinds of historical reports about the province of Sichuan, from the conquest by the state of Qin 秦 in 316 BCE down to the end of the Later Shu dynasty 後蜀 (934-965). Inspite of statements like this, it is rather probable that a certain Guo Yundao 郭允蹈 compiled the 10-juan long Shujian.

The Shujian mainly focuses on the military history and the geography of Sichuan. Historical events are narrated in a coherent style known from the historiographic type of "events in their entirety" (jishi benmo 紀事本末). The text itself is divided into ropes (gang 綱), meshes (mu 目) and discourses (lun 論), an arrangement known from the Tongjian gangmu 通鑒綱目. The author carefully studied all available sources, like the Sanguozhi 三國志, Huayang guo zhi 華陽國志, Jinshu 晉書, Shiliuguo chunqiu 十六國春秋, Taiping huanyu ji 太平寰宇記, or Xingyuanji 興元記, and commented them critically. The Shujian is therefore a very important source for the study of the history of the province of Sichuan. In the last chapter, the author gives a very crude overview to the native peoples of Sichuan, subsumed under the derogatory term "barbarians from the Southwest" (Xinan yi 西南夷).

The Shujian is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Shoushange congshu 守山閣叢書 and Congshu jicheng 叢書集成.

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, 906.
Sichuan baike quanshu bianzuan weiyuanhui 《四川百科全書》編纂委員會, ed. (1997). Sichuan baike quanshu 四川百科全書 (Chengdu: Sichuan cishu chubanshe), 735.
Wang Songling 王松齡, ed. (1991). Shiyong Zhongguo lishi zhishi cidian 實用中國歷史知識辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 717.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 886.