An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Xu Song biannian zizhi tongjian 續宋編年資治通鑒

Jan 7, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Xu Song biannian zizhi tongjian 續宋編年資治通鑑 "Continuation of the Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government covering the Song period" is a continuation to Sima Guang's 司馬光 Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑑. The 15-juan long book was written by Liu Shiju 劉時舉 (fl. 1244) and was finished during the reign of Emperor Lizong 宋理宗 (r. 1224–1264). It covers the time period from 1127 to 1224 and so describes the reigns of the first four emperors of the Southern Song 南宋 (1127-1279), Gaozong 宋高宗 (r. 1127–1162), Xiaozong 宋孝宗 (r. 1162–1189), Guangzong 宋光宗 (r. 1189–1194) and Ningzong 宋寧宗 (r. 1194-1224).

The language is very brief and concise, but very clear and easy to read. Success and failure, danger and safety of the country in a troublesome time are described in detail. The book is arranged chronologically, but includes coherent topics in separate chapters, for instance, the elevation of Gaozong's mother, Madame Meng 孟氏, to the status of Empress Dowager. Liu made use of his book to criticize indecent political decisions and to praise excellent decisions and behaviour.

The early Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Zhu Yizun 朱彝尊 (1629–1709) added a poem, in which he rates Liu Shiju's book as better than the compilations of Wang Zongmu 王宗沐 (1523–1591) and Xue Yingqi 薛應旂 (1500–1575), who wrote each a book with the same title, Song-Yuan zizhi tongjian 宋元資治通鑑.

During the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) some part of later commentaries were erroneously copied with the main text, so that the Yuan edition is not very good. There is a manuscript version surviving, as well as the editions in the series Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原, Congchu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

In 1927 the Dongfang xuehui 東方學會 published a modern edition.

Table 1. Chapters of Liu Shiju's 劉時舉 Xu Song biannian zizhi tongjian 續宋編年資治通鑑
1.-7. 宋高宗 Reign of Emperor Gaozong (r. 1127-1162)
8.-10. 宋孝宗 Reign of Emperor Xiaozong (r. 1162-1189)
11. 宋光宗 Reign of Emperor Guangzong (r. 1189-1194)
12.-15. 宋寜宗 Reign of Emperor Ningzong (r. 1194-1224)

There is another book of this title, authorship of which is attributed to Li Tao 李燾 (1115–1184), who is also the author of the much more famous chronicle Xu Zizhi tongjian changbian 續資治通鑑長編. In his 18-juan long Xu Song biannian tongjian he only deals with matters from the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126). The arrangement is largely the same as in the book Songshi quanwen 宋史全文, but includes countless errors and inconsistencies, and suffers from incompleteness. This book is usually not listed among Li Tao's other bibliographic entries, so that it must be assumed that it is a forgery sold under the name of the famous historian. A copy of this survived in the library of Bao Shigong 鮑士恭 (fl. 1750) in Zhejiang. It is described in the catalogue Siku quanshu zongmu tiyao 四庫全書總目提要.

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, 904.