An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Bozhaibian 泊宅編

Sep 2, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Bozhaibian 泊宅編 is a biji 筆記 "brush notes"-style writing compiled by Fang Diao 方勺 (b. 1066), courtesy name Rensheng 仁聲, from Jinhua 金華 in the prefecture of Wuzhou 婺州 (today in Zhejiang). The title of his 10-juan long book is derived from the village where Fang lived, Bozhaicun 泊宅村 near Wucheng 烏程 (today's Wuxing 吳興, Zhejiang). Fang did not obtain higher offices because he failed in the state examinations. He also wrote the chronicle Qingxi kougui 青溪寇軌.

His book includes historiographical information of unofficial character from the late Northern Song 北宋 (960-1126) to the early Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279), with a focus on political events from the Yuanyou reign-period 元祐 (1086-1093). Fang mentions important personalities of the time like Han Qi 韓琦 (1008-1075), Fu Bi 富弼 (1004-1083), Ouyang Xiu 歐陽修 (1007-1072), Sima Guang 司馬光 (1019-1086), Wang Anshi 王安石 (1021-1086), Su Shi 蘇軾 (1037-1101), Zhu Xingzhong 朱行中 or Chen Qufei 陳去非. He is critical towards Wang Anshi and Zhang Shangying 張商英 (1043-1121).

Apart from individual persons, the text provides information on commercial taxes, levies on wine, the summer tax and other issues of the financial policy of the Yuanfeng reign-period 元豐 (1078-1085), and also executions, appointment of officials in central government administrations, the life of monasteries and temples, salt prices, geography, medicine, plants and poetry. Fascicle 5 gives an overview of the rebellion of Fang La 方臘 (d. 1121). The texts includes 191 short chapters.

Apart from the 10-juan version, there is a version of 3 juan with 110 chapters, 26 of which are not found in the long version. It is mentioned in the descriptive catalogue Siku quanshu zongmu tiyao 四庫全書總目提要. The short version might be based on a first, unpublished manuscript.

The bibliographical catalogue Zhizhai shulu jieti 直齋書錄解題 and the bibliographical chapters in the encyclopaedia Wenxian tongkao 文獻通考 (20 Jingji kao 經籍考) and the official dynastic history Songshi 宋史 ((202-209 Yiwen zhi 藝文志) categorize the Bozhailu as fiction (xiaoshuo 小說).

The Bozhailu is found in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Duhuazhai congshu 讀畫齋叢書, Baihai 稗海, Jinhua congshu 金華叢書, Gujin shuohai 古今說海 and Xuehai leibian 學海類編.

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. 2, 2147.
Lin Fei 林非, ed. (1997). Zhongguo sanwen da cidian 中國散文大辭典 (Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe), 189.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 552.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1994). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Wenxue 文學卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 426.
Zheng Yunbo 鄭云波, ed. (1992). Zhongguo gudai xiaoshuo cidian 中國古代小說辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 411.