An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Xihan huiyao 西漢會要

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Xihan huiyao 西漢會要 "Institutional history of the Western Han dynasty" is an encyclopaedia on statecraft covering the Western Han 西漢 or Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE). It was compiled during the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) by Xu Tianlin 徐天麟 (jinshi degree 1205), courtesy name Zhongxiang 仲祥. He also wrote the institutional history Donghan huiyao 東漢會要, as well as a book on Han-period military, Hanbing benmo 漢兵本末, and two books on geography, Xihan dili shu 西漢地理疏, and Shanjing 山經. Apart from the Donghan huiyao, his other books are lost.

The Xihan huiyao has a length of 70 juan long and covers 367 themes in 15 categories. The arrangement and the idea is based on the Tang huiyao 唐會要, the institutional history of the Tang empire 唐 (618-907). The themes cover the dynastic house, state rituals and music, state coaches and robes, education, calendar, state offices and appointment, as well as administrative matters like taxes, state monoplies, penal law and local administration.

The main sources for the Xihan huiyao were the two official dynastic histories Shiji 史記 and Hanshu 漢書 which is not sufficient to exhaust all available information on the political and administrative system of the Former Han state.

In 1955 the Zhonghua Shuju 中華書局 published a modern edition that is based on the late Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) edition of the Guangya Publishing House 廣雅書局. In 1976 the Shanghai Renmin Press 上海人民出版社 published a new edition.

Table 1. Contents of the Xihan huiyao 西漢會要
1-6 帝系 The dynasty: 帝號 titles of emperors, 太皇太后皇太后皇后 Grand Empress Dowager, Empress Dowager, and Empress, 皇太子 the Heir Apparent, 皇子 princes, 諸侯王 the nobility, 王子侯 sons of princes, 宗室 the imperial house, 公主 princesses, 和蕃公主 princesses married to foreign rulers, 内職 the Palace Service, 出宮人 persons leaving the palace service
7-20 Rites: 吉禮 auspicious rites (禮 rites, 封禪 sacrifices to Heaven and Earth on Mt. Taishan, 親郊 the emperor's sacrifices in the suburbs, 親祠后土 personal sacrifices to the Earth, 郊議 discussions on the suburban sacrifices, 祖宗配侑 sacrifices at the ancestral altars, 總天神 general sacrifices to Heaven and the spirits, 山川 to mountains and rivers, 高禖 medium spirits of the suburban sacrifices, 臘 the last month of the year, 藉田 the emperor's ploughing ceremony, 社稷 altars of soil and grain, 明堂 the Bright Hall, 宗廟 the ancestral altars, 五月毁 the exchange ceremony of the 5th lunar month, 原廟 ancestral altars of former dynasties, 郡國廟 ancestral altars in the commanderies and princedoms, 廟議 discussions on the ancestral altars, 廟祭 sacrifices at the ancestral altars, 衣冠出游 robes and caps for excursions, 禘祫 di and xia sacrifices, 祠孔子 the veneration of Confucius, 禱旱 prayers against drought, 雜祭祀 miscellaneous sacrifices, 幣玉 clothes and jades used for sacrifices, 牲牢 sacrificial animals, 車輅 carts and chariots used during sacrifices, 祭服 sacrificial robes, 受釐 receving the remainders of sacrificial meat, 巫祝 incantations, 尊寳鼎 sacrificial vessels),
嘉禮 congratulatory rites (朝會 court audiences, 諸侯朝覲 audiences to the nobility, 上尊號 bestowing titles to a superior person, 上壽 birthday of an emperor, 冊立皇子 nomination of a prince, 行幸 inspection tours, 詔令章奏 edicts and memorials, 冠禮 capping rites, 婚禮 nuptial rites, 鄉射 village archery contests, 賜酺 allowing banquets, 賜姓氏 bestowing a family name, 更姓氏 changing a family name, 禁踰侈 prohibition of extravagance),
賓禮 hosting rites (封先代後 investiture of descendants of former dynasties, 先代冡墓 graves of the former dynasty),
軍禮 military rites (親征 emperors on campaign, 勞軍 military campaign, 田獵 hunting, 兵祭 military sacrifices),
凶禮 inauspicious rites (山陵 mausolea, 寢園 gardens at mauseolea, 服制 mourning robes, 喪葬 funerals, 恤死事 pitying the death)
21-22 Music: 樂舞 Music and dance, 樂章 stanzas, 角抵 boxing (?)
23-24 輿服 Chariots and robes: 天子車旗 Chariots and banners of the Son of Heaven, 先驅 the vanguard, 奉車 (normal) chariots, 參乘 chariots of the guard, 警䟆 keeping off persons from the road, 廐馬 stables, 百官車 chariots of officials, 天子冠服 caps and robes of the Son of Heaven, 百官冠服 caps and robes of officials, 臣庶衣服 clothes of non-officials, 璽 imperial seals, 羣臣璽綬 seals of officials, 符節 tallies, 關傳 forwarding at passes
25-26 學校 State schools: 大學 the National University, 辟廱 the Biyong School, 郡國學 commandery schools, 圖書 libraries, 講論經義 discussions of the meaning of the Classics, 國史 dynastic history, 賜書 presenting books, 黜百家 the expulsion of the "Hundred Schools" [in favour of Confucianism]
27-28 運曆 Calendar: 五運 the Five Agents, 曆 calendar, 改元 change of reign motto, 天文 astronomy, 權量 weights and measures, 時令 seasonal commands
29-30 祥異 Portents and omina: 符瑞 Omina, 日食 eclipses of the sun, 日月變異 strange phenomena concerning sun and moon, 星隕 meteorites, 亡冰 winters without frost, 雪 snow, 霜雹 frost and hail, 總天變 general anomalies concerning the sky, 地震 earthquakes, 山崩 mountain slides, 石鳴 crying stones, 石立 erecting stones, 隕石 stony meteorites, 火災 fire accidents , 旱 draught, 蝗螟 pests, 人妖 human demons, 鳥獸之妖 animal demons, 草木之妖 plant demons, 雜變異 various anomalies, 占驗 prognostication
31-43 職官 State offices: 上公 The Superior Dukes, 三公 the Three Dukes, 丞相 the Counsellor-in-chief, 太尉 the Defender-in-chief, 御史大夫 the Censor-in-chief, 太常 the Chamberlain for Ceremonials, 大夫 grand masters, 郎 court gentleman, 宮官 the Palace Service, 詹事 overseers of the Household of the Heir Apparent and of the Empress, 長信詹事 the Steward of the Empress Dowager, 大長秋 the Director of the Palace Domestic Service, 票(驃)騎將軍 cavalry generals, 車騎將軍 chariot and horse generals, 衛將軍 generals of the guard, 前後左右將軍 generals of the front, rear, left, and right, 城門校尉 commandants of the Capital Gates, 八校尉 the Eight Commandants, 西域都護 Protectors-general of the Western Regions, 戊己校尉 the temporary commandery in the Western Territories, 三輔京兆尹 the magistrates of the three metropolitan commanderies, 郡國 commanderies and princedoms, 諸侯王國 princedoms, 郡守 governors, 郡國均輸鹽鐵官 salt and iron officials in the commanderies, 列郡別置官 local officials in the commanderies, 縣令長 district magistrates, 掾史縣掾 administrators of clerical sections, 封建 investiture in titles of nobility, 封功臣 investing meritorious officials, 封外戚 investiture of relatives of empresses, 封丞相 investiture of Counsellors-in-chief, 繼絕世 inheritance of titles of nobility, 封方士 investiture of magicians, 婦人爵邑 investiture of females with bath towns, 加官 additional offices, 爵 ranks of offices, 封君 investiture as a "lord", 鬻爵 the purchase of offices, 特進 extraordinary promotion, 宿衛 the guard of the lodgings, 待詔 treatment of guests, 秩祿萬石 salaries, 益吏祿 increase of salaries, , 蠻夷敘位 ranks of barbarian leaders, 使外國 envoys to foreign countries, 行水災流民 natural calamities and peasant refugees, 舉賢觀風 promotion of worthies, 雜遣使 various commissioners, 奉使矯製 the dispatch of officials to straighten out [affairs], 矯節 forgery of tallies, 考課 evaluation of state officials, 官稱 designation of offices, 集議 collected discussions, 告寧 leave for private mourning, 奉朝請 submission of memorials, 久任 long-term office holders, 圖功臣 planning for meritorious officials, 改官名 the change of office designations, 省官 abolishing offices, 戒敕官吏 admonition to the officialdom, 戒貪吏 preventing corruption, 策免大臣 dismission of high officials
44-45 選舉 Appointment of officials: 賢良方正 [Recommendation of] worthy, excellent, straightforward and upright persons, 博士弟子 erudites and disciples, 試學童 examination of young boys, 射策 examining by "anwers pronounced quickly as arrows go", 明經 classicists, 明法 experts in law, 治劇 'multi-talents', 異科 deviating examination types, 聘召名士 invitation of famous scholars [for appointment], 舉廉 elevation of honest persons, 孝弟力田 [appointment of] young men having laboured on the fields, 任子 inheritance of posts, 貲 [appointment] by property, 鬻官 purchase of offices, 方技 magicians, 郡吏 subofficial posts in commanderies, 上書 submission of documents, 從軍 military service, 選舉雜錄 various records on appointment
46-50 民政 Administration of the people (households and taxes): 户口 households, 風俗 customs and habits, 傅籍 registers, 更役 corvée in turns, 鄉役 corvée in villages, 泛役 excessive corvée, 復除 absolution from corvée duty, 置三老 the creation of the custom of the three classes of the elderly, 賜三老帛 silks presented to the three elderly, 尊高年 the veneration of old age, 賜高年帛 silks presented to persons of old age, 賜孝弟力田錢帛 cash and silks presented to laborious and filial young people, 恤鰥寡孤獨 lenience towards widows, orphans, and lonely persons, 恤流民 pitying peasant refugees, 徙豪族 members of eminent families in penal military service, 奴婢 slaves, 治豪猾 treatment of perpetrators, 墾田數 number of newly opened fields, 限民名田 restriction of heads registered per field, 代田 replacement-field method, 假民公田 public fields rented out to the people, 勸農桑 adhortation to engage in agriculture and silk production
51-55 食貨 Food and commodities: 水利 hydraulic works, 算訾 budget planning
56-60 Military: 南北軍 the Southern and Northern Armies, 衞將軍軍 troops of the general of the guards, 車騎將軍 troops of chariot-and-horse generals, 期門羽林 palace gate guardsmen and cavalry of the forest of plumes, 衞士 guardsmen, 中尉兵 guards of the capital, 城門兵 guards of the capital gates, 司隷校尉 the metropolitan commandant, 七校 the seven commandants, 佽飛射士 archers, 輯濯士 oarsmen of the imperial gardens, 胡越騎 Hu and Yue cavalry, 羌騎 Qiang cavalry, 材官 skilled soldiers (militia), 輕車 light chariots, 騎士 cavarlymen, 樓船 towered warships, 屬國騎 cavalry of the princedoms, 屯田卒 troops of agro-colonies, 教閱 military review, 繇戍 exile in border garrisons, 調發 dispatch of troops, 選募 recruitment, 發謫徒 dispatch of exiled criminals, 行伍部校 command during march, 壁壘 local fortifications, 京師兵器 weapons of the capital army, 郡國兵器 weapons of local troops, 兵占 military oracles, 軍功 military honours, 軍法 military law, 馬政 horse administration, 備邊 border defence, 處降 enforcing capitulation, 捕盗 arresting bandits
61-63 刑法 Penal law: 刑制 Law system, 律令 laws and edicts, 疑讞 improper verdicts, 議貴 mitigation of punishment for persons of high standing, 矜老弱 pity for the old and weak, 贖罪 redemption from punishment by payment of money, 恤刑 careful application of law, 女刑 penalties for females, 大赦 great amnesties, 赦徒 amnesty of penal servitude, 别赦 extraordinary amnesties, 赦宥雜録 various amnesties, 獄 prison, 斷獄數 numbers in the announcement of verdicts
64-67 方域 Local administration: 都邑 the capital cities, 郡國沿革 development of commanderies and princedoms, 廢郡 abolishment of individual commanderies, 論形勢 discussion of geographical features, 宮 palaces, 殿 palace halls, 室 palace chambers, 館 palace bureaus, 闕 watchtowers, 臺觀 terraces, 樓閣 multi-storey buildings, 苑囿 imperial gardens, 池籞 imperial parks, 道路 capital roads, 諸門 gates, 官寺 public offices, 宮苑雜録 miscellaneous records on palaces and gardens, 街市 streets, 鄉里 villages, 關 passes, 城塞 citywalls, 傳置 courier service, 亭障 border fortifications, 斥候 observation, 邸 local offices, 黄河 the Yellow River
68-70 蕃夷 Barbarians: 匃奴 Xiongnu, 西南夷 savages of the Southwest, 南粤 Southern Yue, 閩粤 Min-Yue, 朝鮮 Korea, 西域 Western Territories
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