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Houqinglu 侯鯖錄

Aug 15, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Houqinglu 侯鯖錄 "Records of Mackerel Stew" is a biji 筆記 "brush notes" style book written by the Song period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Zhao Lingzhi 趙令畤 (1051-1134), courtesy name Zhao Jingkuang 趙景貺 or Zhao Delin 趙德麟, style Liaofuweng 聊複翁 or Cangliu jushi 藏六居士. He was a descendant of Zhao Dezhao 趙德昭, Prince of Yan 燕 and second son of Emperor Taizu 宋太祖 (r. 960-975), the founder of the Song dynasty. During the Yuanyou reign 元祐 (1086-1093) he was notary of the administrative military assistant (qianshu 簽書) of Yingzhou 潁州. At that time the famous writer Su Shi 蘇軾 was prefect of Yingzhou, and the both had an intimate friendship. When Su Shi was charged with a crime, his friend Zhao Lingzhi was rated as a collaborator, paid a fine and was decleared member of a court faction. With the support of Tan Zhen 譚禎 he was later discharged. Under the reign of Emperor Gaozong 宋高宗 (r. 1127-1162), founder of the Southern Song 南宋 (1127-1279), Zhao Lingzhi was made Commandery Prince of Anding 安定郡王 and was appointed to the office of pacification commissioner (chengxuanshi 承宣使) of the military prefectue of Ningyuan 寧遠軍, and later vice administrator (tongzhi 同知) of a branch office of the Chief Office of Imperial Clan Affairs (xingzai dazong zhengshi 行在大宗正事). Known as a famous poet, his collected works are assembled in the book Liaofu ji 聊複集. The title of the Houqinglu is derived from a story from the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) in which a certain Lou Huo 樓護 served a kind of delicious soup (later called houqing) that includes both fish and meat was served to Wang Wuhou 王五侯. The houqing stew is the symbol for something very excellent.
The 8 juan "scrolls" long book describes persons, customs and habits, colloquial expressions, poems, stories and events of the author's time. It is written in a very elegant style and has therefore also a certain literary value, particularly the poems to the story of Cui Yingying 崔鶯鶯 in Yuan Zhen's 元禎 collection Huizhenji 會真記. The passage demonstrates how the ci style 詞 genre of poems/songs from the Song period gradually transformed to the zhugongdiao style 諸宮調 of the Yuan period. This can be seen as a link to one of the first great northern style operas, the Xixiangji 西廂記. The Houjinglu is included in the reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Baihai 稗海, Zhibuzuzhai congshu 知不足齋叢書, Biji xiaoshuo daguan 筆記小說大觀 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編.

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. 2147.