An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Chunzhu jiwen 春渚紀聞

Aug 28, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Chunzhu jiwen 春渚紀聞 "Hearsay from the Spring Islet" is a "brush-notes"-style book (biji 筆記) written during the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) by He Yuan 何薳 (1077-1145), courtesy name Ziyuan 子遠 or Zichu 子楚, style Hanqing Laonong 韓青老農 or Dongdu Yilao 東都遺老.

He hailed from Pucheng 浦城 (modern Pucheng, Fujian) and lived during the last decades of the Northern Song period. He is known as a brilliant singer and player of the zither. The situation at the imperial court, where the Counsellors Zhang Dun 章惇 (1035-1106) and Cai Jing 蔡京 (1047-1126) wielded highest power and accumulated a fortune by their authority, caused him to refrain from aspiring an official career. Instead he retired to the village where his father He Qufei 何去非 (fl. 1082), author of the military treatise He Boshi beilun 何博士備論, was buried. As a "hidden worthy", he studied ancient writings and collected interesting stories about the history of the Song dynasty, and compiled them to a 10-juan-long book.

The first half includes miscellaneous stories, including ghost stories, stories of retribution of sins (baoying 報應), and bizarre tales, as well as some humorous novellas. One scroll or chapter is dedicated to the life of the poet Su Shi 蘇軾 (1037-1101), quotes from non-published works of him, and tells of his friendship with Qin Shaoyou 秦少游 (i.e. Qin Guan 秦觀, 1049-1100), Liu Gongfu 劉貢父 (Liu Ban 劉攽, 1023-1089), Huang Luzhi 黃魯直 (Huang Tingjian 黃庭堅, 1045-1105), Chen Wuji 陳無己 (Chen Shidao 陳師道, 1053-1101) and Zhang Wenqian 張文潛 (Zhang Lei 張耒, 1054-1114). The reason for this dedication to Su Shi is that the latter had once recommended He Wei's father He Qufei for an official post. This chapter is very interesting because it gives information on the life of Su Shi that is not found in other sources. The next chapter speaks of Tang- 唐 (618-907) and Song-period poetry, and includes also some critically revised paragraphs quoted from ancient writings on the zither. The following part provides information about ink-stones (yan 硯), and the last chapter narrates stories of Song-period masters who cultivated the Daoist art of "cinnabar and herbs" (danyao 丹藥).

Some parts of the book are contradicting each other, and differ from statements in other books, like that of the chess player Liu Zhongfu 劉仲甫 (fl. 1094) who is once called invincible, but of whom it is also said that he was beaten by Zhu Buyi 祝不疑 (fl. 1095; alternatively the son of Wang Han 王憨 or Jin Shiming 晉士明, as the book Tieweishan congtan 鐵圍山叢談 says). In spite of these shortcomings, the Chunzhu jiwen is an interesting source of the social life of the literati during the Northern Song period.

It is not known when the Chunzhu jiwen was printed first. A fragmentary version of it was first published by the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Chen Jiru 陳繼儒 (1558-1639) in his series Baoyantang miji 寶顏堂秘笈. The collector and publisher Mao Jin 毛晉 (1599-1659) was able to purchase the full version (yet with one page still missing) that is included in his series Jindai mishu 津逮秘書. The Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Lu Wenchao 盧文弨 (1717-1795) collected some remaining fragments and published them in the Qunshu shibu 群書拾補. This version was reprinted in Zhang Haipeng's 張海鵬 (1755-1816) Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原. The Chunzhu jiwen is also to be found in the series Songren shuobu congshu 宋元人說部書, Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Pucheng yishu 浦城遺書, Songren xiaoshuo 宋人小說, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編, Shuofu 說郛 and Wuchao xiaoshuo 五朝小說 (in the last two only as an excerpt). In 1981 the Zhonghua Shuju Press 中華書局 published a modern edition with annotations by Zhang Minghua 張明華.

Chen Jianping 陳建萍, Duan Hongguang 段宏廣 (2013). "Cong Chunzhu jiwen deng Song-Yuan-Ming shiqi zuopin kan Su Shi de lishi xingxiang 從《春渚紀聞》等宋元明時期作品看蘇軾的歷史形象", Mangzhong 芒, 2013 (11): 73-74.
Dong Naibin 董乃斌 (1989). "Chunzhu jiwen 春渚紀聞", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 97.
Guo Benhou 郭本厚 (1996). "Chunzhu jiwen 春渚紀聞", in Jiang Zuyi 蔣祖怡, Chen Zhichun 陳志椿, eds. Zhongguo shihua cidian 中國詩話辭典 (Beijing: Beijing chubanshe), 248.
Guo Zhengyi 郭正誼 (1995). "Chunzhu jiwen tiyao 《春渚紀聞》提要", in Guo Zhengyi 郭正誼, ed. Zhongguo kexue jishu dianji tonghui 中國科學技術典籍通彙, part Huaxue 化學 (Zhengzhou: Henan jiaoyu chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1-2.
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, 1951.
Lin Fei 林非, ed. (1994). Zhongguo sanwen da cidian 中國散文大辭典 (Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe), 189.
Pu Qiuzheng 蒲秋征 (1988). "He Yuan ji qi Chunzhu jiwen 何薳及其《春渚紀聞》", Xibei Daxue xuebao (Shehui kexue ban) 西北師大學報(社會科學版) 1988 (4): 49-55.
Wang Yuetong 王月彤 (2016). "Tan Songdai biji Chunzhu jiwen zhong de shufa xianxiang 談宋代筆記《春渚紀聞》中的書法現象", Shufa shangping 書法賞評 2016 (3): 27-29.
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), 454.
Zheng Yunbo 鄭雲波, ed. (1992). Zhongguo gudai xiaoshuo cidian 中國古代小說辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 413.