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Chinese Literature
Chuijianlu 吹劍錄 "Blowing Into (the Heft of) a Sword"


The Chuijianlu 吹劍錄 "Blowing into (the heft of) a sword" is a biji 筆記 "brush notes" style book written by the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) scholar Yu Wenbao 俞文豹, courtesy name Yu Wenwei 俞文蔚. Not much is known about his life, but he said himself that he wandered around for more than fourty years and only in his later years settled down in the capital, where he began writing 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 the series is derived from a sentence in the 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 collectaneum 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 蜀漢 (221-263), Zhuge Liang 諸葛亮, 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 collectanea 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 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 edition of the Shuofu only an excerpt of the first book, and 12 paragraphs from the Chuijian xulu. Zhang Zongxiang 張宗祥 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.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe, vol. 2, p. 1958-1959.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

August 20, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail