An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Xiaotian jizhuan 小腆紀傳

Mar 17, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Xiaotian jizhuan 小腆紀傳 "Biographies of the lesser lords" is a history book written by the late Qing-period scholar Xu Nai 徐鼒 (1810-1862). It is a sister-work of Xu called Xiaotian jinian 小腆紀年. Both books are reports on the Southern Ming dynasty 南明 (1644-1661).

The 65-juan long book (with a supplement of 5 juan) is a history of the Southern Ming dynasty written in the style of biographies (jizhuanti 紀傳體). Xu profited from the circumstance that in the relaxed political atmosphere of the mid-19th century, unofficial books on the Ming dynasty reappeared in public after such had been forbidden during the Qianlong reign-period. After careful study of such "new" resources, Xu Nai began two write down a consistent collection of Southern Ming biographies but could not finish this work. His son Xu Chengli 徐承禮 supplemented the work of his father, revised it and rearranged some parts. Chengli did not write himself, but added missing parts and missing biographies by copying information from other books like Nanjiang yishi 南疆逸史. Full supplementary chapters were put into the appendix. The book was finished in 1869 and includes 7 juan of imperial annals-biographies (ji 紀) and 58 juan of normal biographies (liezhuan 列傳), describing in total the lives of 520 persons.

The oldest print dates from 1887. The Zhonghua Book Company 中華書局 published a modern edition in 1958. The Xiaodian jizhuan is also included in the series Ming-Qing shiliao huibian 明清史料匯編.

Ding Xiaozhi 丁孝智 (1994). "Xiaotian jizhuan 小腆紀傳", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Lishi 歷史卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 394.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 932.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 63.