An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Wuxuebian 吾學編

Sep 21, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Wuxiebian 吾學編 "My Learning" is a history of the first half of the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) written by Zheng Xiao 鄭曉 (1499-1566), courtesy name Zhifu 窒甫, style Danquan 澹泉, from Haiyan 海鹽, Zhejiang. Zheng Xiao was a high minister at the Ming court, presiding over the Ministry of Personnel (libu shangshu), and finally serving as Minister of Justice (xingbu shangshu 刑部尚書), and was very interested in history. He was granted the title of Junior Guardian of the Heir Apparent (taizi shaobao 太子少保, see Three Dukes). His posthumous title is Duke Duanjian 端簡公.

His Wuxuebian is arranged in the same style as the official dynastic histories. It is divided into 14 chapters and arranged in 69 juan. The main difference to the official dynastic histories is that Zheng inserts the layer of chapters which divide the text into thematical issues, instead of purely listing biographies as it is common in the biographic-thematic style (jizhuanti 紀傳體) of historiography. At the beginning of each chapter Zheng Xiao adds a small preface.

The oldest preserved print dates from 1567, and a second one was realized in 1599.

Table 1. Contents of the Wuxuebian 吾學編
1. 皇明大政記 Dazheng ji The Great rule (biographies)
2. 皇明遜國記 Xunguo ji The "usurpatorious" rule of Emperor Hui 明惠帝 (1398-1402) (biographies)
3. 皇明同姓諸侯表傳 Tongxing zhuhou biaozhuan Ennobled members of the imperial family (tables and biographies)
4. 皇明異姓諸侯表傳 Yixing zhuhou biaozhuan Ennobled persons of other families (tables and biographies)
5. 皇明直文淵閣諸臣表 Zhi Wenyuange zhuchen biao Members of the Grand Secretariat (tables)
6. 皇明兩京典銓表 Liangjing dianquan biao Ministers in the two capitals Nanjing and Bejing (tables)
7. 皇明名臣記 Mingchen ji Eminent officials (biographies)
8. 皇明遜國臣記 Xunguo chen ji Officials of the usurper (biographies)
9. 皇明天文述 Tianwen shu Astronomy and calendar (treatise)
10. 皇明地理述 Dili shu Administrative history (treatise)
11. 皇明三禮述 Sanli shu The three rituals (treatise)
12. 皇明百官述 Baiguan shu The hundred offices (treatise)
13. 皇明四夷考 Xiyi kao The four barbarians (treatise)
14. 皇明北虜考 Beilu kao The Mongols (treatise)
Fan Jinmin 范金民 (1992), "Wuxiebian 吾學編", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 3, p. 1232.
Qian Maowei 錢茂偉 (1996). "Lun Zheng Xiao Wuxuebian 論鄭曉《吾學編》", Zhejiang xuekan 浙江學刊, 1996 (1).
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 403.
Zhou Weizhou 周偉洲, Ding Jingtai 丁景泰, ed. (2006). Sichou zhi lu da cidian 絲綢之路大辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 793.