An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Chuijianlu 吹劍錄

Aug 20, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Chuijianlu 吹劍錄 "Blowing into (the hilt of) a sword" is a "brush-notes"-style book (biji 筆記) written during the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) by Yu Wenbao 俞文豹 (c. 1240), courtesy name Wenwei 文蔚. Not much is known about his life, but he said himself that he wandered around for more than forty years and only in his later years settled down in the capital, where he began to write down his book Chuijianlu and the sequels Chuijian xulu 吹劍續錄, Chuijian sanlu 吹劍三錄 and Chuijian silu 吹劍四錄 (also called Chuijianlu waiji 吹劍錄外集 or Chuijian bielu 吹劍別錄). The title of this set of books is derived from a sentence in the Daoist book Zhuangzi 莊子, where it is said that "if you blow into a sword-hilt (jianshou 劍首), there is nothing but a wheezing sound" (transl. Legge).

The books include a wide range of various matters about history and the present times, but with a focus on the study of the Confucian Classics, Neo-Confucianism (daoxue 道學) and the many "masters and philosophers". The transmitted version of the first book is only a version that was reconstructed and then printed together with the second part. The second and third book went lost, but the fourth part is included in the the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

The compilers of the Siku quanshu criticized Yu Wenbao that he deviated of the orthodox line of historiography and spoke badly of highly venerated persons like King Wu 周武王 of the Zhou dynasty 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE), the philosopher Mengzi 孟子 and the Counsellor of Shu-Han empire 蜀漢 (221-263), Zhuge Liang 諸葛亮 (181-234), whom he called a traitor to the Han dynasty 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE). Yet in fact the Chuijianlu is a valuable source for the political and social history of the Southern Song, the activities of and intrigues among the court officials, and the life of the common people.

There are several different versions of the Chuijianlu. The series Siku quanshu, Zhibuzuzhai congshu 知不足齋叢書 and Biji xiaoshuo daguan 筆記小說大觀 include only the Chuijianlu waiji 吹劍錄外集, the Xuhuazhai congshu 讀畫齋叢書, Shuofu 說郛 (Wanwei Shantang 宛委山堂 edition), Wuchao xiaoshuo 五朝小說, Wuchao xiaoshuo daguan 五朝小說大觀 and Gujin shuobu congshu 古今說部叢書 include only the Chuijianlu (first part), the Shangwu Yinshuguan 商務印書館 edition of the Shuofu only an excerpt of the first book, and 12 paragraphs from the Chuijian xulu.

Zhang Zongxiang 張宗祥 (1882-1965) discovered a manuscript of the Chuijian sanlu in the Metropolitan Library 京師圖書館 (the precursor of the National Library 中國國家圖書館), revised it and compared the text with the various editions in circulation. It was published under the name Chuijianlu quanbian 吹劍錄全編 in 1958 by the Gudian Wenxue Press 古典文學出版社, and in 1959 by the Zhonghua Shuju Press 中華書局.

Dong Naibin 董乃斌 (1989). "Chuijianlu 吹劍錄", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhonggguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 96.
Li Bingzhong 李秉忠, Wei Canjin 衛燦金, Lin Conglong 林從龍, eds. (1990). Jianming wenshi zhishi cidian 簡明文史知識詞典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 648.
Li Shasha 李莎莎 (2018). "Chuijianlu wenxueguan gaishu 《吹劍錄》文學觀概述", Taiyuan Xueyuan xuebao (Shehui kexue ban) 太原學院學報(社會科學版), 2018 (2): 66-67+81.
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. 2, 1958.
Lin Fei 林非, ed. (1997). Zhongguo sanwen da cidian 中國散文大辭典 (Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe), 194.
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), 312, 313.
Wu Zhifei 吳志飛 (2015). "Lun Chuijianlu de shixue zhuzhang 論《吹劍錄》的詩學主張", Jilin Guangbo Dianshi Daxue xuebao 吉林廣播電視大學學報, 2015 (1): 136-138.
Yuan Xingpei 袁行霈, Hou Zhongyi 侯忠義, eds. (1981). Zhongguo wenyan xiaoshuo shumu 中國文言小說書目 (Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe), 191.
Zhang Lingxiang 張玲祥 (1996). "Chuijianlu 吹劍錄", in Jiang Zuyi 蔣祖怡, Chen Zhuichun 陳志椿, eds. Zhongguo shihua cidian 中國詩話辭典 (Beijing: Beijing chubanshe), 361.
Zheng Yunbo 鄭雲波, ed. (1992). Zhongguo gudai xiaoshuo cidian 中國古代小說辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 431.