An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Songshi quanwen 宋史全文

Feb 8, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Songshi quanwen 宋史全文 "History of the Song period as a complete text" is a history of the Northern and Southern Song periods written by an anonymous writer of the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368). The 36-juan long book covers the whole history of the Song dynasty 宋 (960-1279), from its founding until the eve of the take-over by the Mongols. It is written in an annalistic style.

The first part, covering the Northern Song period, is in fact an abbreviated form of Li Tao's 李燾 Xu zizhi tongjian changbian 續資治通鑑長編. For the reigns of the Southern Song emperors Gaozong 宋高宗 (r. 1127-1162) and Xiaozong 宋孝宗 (r. 1162-1189) the author used Liu Zheng's 留正 (1129-1206) draft Zhongxing shengzheng cao 中興聖政草 "Draft to the sacred rule at the re-foundation of the dynasty", including the remarks and indications of sources included in this manuscript. The parts describing the reigns of the emperors Guangzong 宋光宗 (r. 1189-1194) and Ningzong 宋寧宗 (r. 1194-1224) are originals written by the author of the book himself.

The author made use of a large amount of private and official sources, like Lü Zhong's 呂中 (jinshi degree 1247) Dashiji jiangyi 大事記講義, Li Hang's 李沆 (947-1004) Taizu shilu lun 太祖實錄論 and Zuguo lunfu 足國論富, or Chen Guan's 陳瓘 (1057-1124) Lun Dashiji 論大事記. This is very important because a lot of these private notes to the history of the Song period are lost since.

The Songshi quanwen ends in 1274. It was printed still during the Yuan period and is preserved in the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) encyclopaedia Yongle dadian 永樂大典, and the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

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, 889.