An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Zhuzi nianpu 朱子年譜

Mar 6, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhuzi nianpu 朱子年譜 "Biographic chronicle of Master Zhu Xi" is an annalistic biography of the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) Neo-Confucian philosopher Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130-1200) in the shape of a chronicle. The 4-juan long book was compiled by the Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Wang Maohong 王懋竑 (1668-1741), courtesy name Yuzhong 予中, style Baitian 白田.

The Nianpu is enriched of a 4-juan long critical apparatus (Kaoyi 考異) and an appendix (Fulu 附錄) of 2 juan. The oldest biography of Zhu Xi had been compiled by the Song-period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Li Fangzi 李方子, yet all of the subsequent biographies were superficially and incorrect in many pionts. Wang Maohong adhered to the biographies written by Li Mo 李默 and Hong Jing 洪璟 and compared their statements with the own writings of Zhu Xi. It took him more than 20 years to write his book.

The Kaoyi followed the model of Zhu Xi's own commentary to the collected writings of the Tang-period 唐 (618-907) writer Han Yu 韓愈 (768-824). The Fulu includes the major philosophical propositions of Zhu Xi. The biography itself concentrates on the teaching career of Zhu Xi and omits the historical background.

The Zhuzi nianpu was first printed in 1752 by the Baitiancaotang Studio 白田草堂 and in included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Yueyatang congshu 粵雅堂叢書, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 and Guoxue jiben congshu 國學基本叢書.

There is another book with the same title written by the Song-period writer Yuan Zhonghui 袁仲晦 that was also consulted by Wang Maohong. A third biography of Zhu Xi was compiled by Hong Quwu 洪去蕪.

Yet another book with the title was compiled by Zhu Shirun 朱世潤 (dates unknown), an 18-th generation descendant of Zhu Xi. He was an erudite (boshi 博士) in the Hanlin Academy 翰林院. The 6-juan long book was written to amend errors in older texts and add missing information. The biographic chronicle only constitutes one fascicle of the texts, while the other parts are a biographical appreciation (xingzhuang 行狀) and quotations from later assessments on Zhu Xi and his teachings. Zhu Shirun's biography was printed in 1737 by Yang Xuefu 楊雪服 in Huizhou 徽州, and again by Guo Chun 郭錞 in Wuyuan 婺源.

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, 970, 971.