An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Song zhongxing jishi benmo 宋中興紀事本末

Feb 21, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald

Song zhongxing jishi benmo 宋中興紀事本末 "History of the re-founding of the Song dynasty in its entirety", original title Huangchao zhongxing jishi benmo 皇朝中興紀事本末, shortly called Zhongxing jishi benmo 中興紀事本末 or Zhongxing xiaoli 中興小紀 "Lesser chronicle of the re-foundation (of the Song)", is a history of the foundation of the Southern Song dynasty 南宋 (1127-1279) written by Xiong Ke 熊克 (1132–1204, courtesy name Zifu 子復).

In spite of its title the Zhongxing xiaoji does not belong to the genre of "historical events in their entirety” (jishi benmo 紀事本末), but is a chronicle. In the imperial geography Da-Ming yitong zhi 大明一統志 the text is called Gaozong jishi benmo 高宗紀事本末 because it described the events during the reign of Emperor Gaozong 宋高宗 (r. 1127–1162), the founder of the Southern Song.

The 76-juan long book attracted highest attention among Song period scholars, but later fell into oblivion. It is still mentioned in the book catalogue Zhizhai shulu jieti 直齋書錄解題 (Song), the bibliographic chapter of the dynastic history Songshi 宋史 and in the official catalogue Wenyuange shumu 文淵閣書目 (Ming), but not in later bibliographies.

The text is transmitted in a 40-juan long reconstructed version that was extracted from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) encyclopaedia Yongle dadian 永樂大典. Yet the text was by the compilers of the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書 again called Zhongxing xiaoji, in order to avoid the (eventual) temple name of the Qianlong Emperor 乾隆, Qing Gaozong 清高宗.

There are furthermore, in the Siku quanshu version, some phrases changed because they included derogatory words (lu 虜 "slaves", hu 胡 "barbarians", zei 賊 "bandits", yidi 夷狄 "savages") about the Jurchens, the ancestors of the Manchus, founders of the Qing dynasty.

The text was reprinted as facsimile of a manuscript version by the Guangya Publishing House 廣雅書局 in 1891, and is included in the series Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編. In 1984 another edition was published by the Fujian renmin chubanshe 福建人民出版社. None of these different versions were ever critically compared. The most authentic version is probably kept in the National Library of China 北京國家圖書館. The time frame covered by this version (manuscript from 1731) reaches from 1127 to 1150, which is only part of the Siku quanshu version.

The Qing period scholar Zhu Yizun 朱彝尊 (1629-1709) remarked that there must have been original Song period prints in circulation still in the early Qing period. It is also known that Xiong Ke's book was heavily used by Li Xinchuan 李心傳 for his chronicle Jianyan yilai xinian yaolu 建炎以來系年要錄.

The Zhongxin xiaoji is also found in the series Guangya shuju congshu 廣雅書局叢書.

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, 885.