An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Jiaofangji 教坊記

Aug 15, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Jiaofangji 教坊記 "About the instruction quarters" is a collection of short essays on court music written by the Tang period 唐 (618-907) scholar Cui Lingqin 崔令欽 around 750 CE. According to his biography in the collection Quantangwen 全唐文 he was an adjunct (zuolang 佐郎) in the Palace Library and military adjutant of the granaries section (cangcao canjun 倉曹參軍) during the Kaiyuan 開元 (713-741) and Tianbao 天寶 (742-755) reigns. The jiaofang 教坊 "instruction quarters" were courtial entertainment institutions in which concerts and dances, acrobatic performances and theatre plays were presented. The Jiaofangji includes a lot of information on these courtly theatres (yiguan 藝館, later called jiaofang), describes the organisation, personalities, stories and plays, its origin and change over time. It mentions several hundred titles of plays and so is an excellent source of the origin of Chinese theatre and dance performances during the Tang period, even if it is arranged in a quite unsystematic manner.
The Jiaofangji is mentioned in the bibliographies in the Xintangshu 新唐書, Chongwen zongmu 崇文總目, Junzhai dushu zhi 郡齋讀書志, Wenxian tongkao 文獻通考 (chapter Jingji kao 經籍考), and Songshi 宋史 among the books on music (yuelei 樂類). The compilers of other books rated it as a novella (xiaoshuo 小說), in other words, a book of entertaining content. The original must have been lost during the Song period 宋 (960-1279), and the earliest surviving version in Tao Zongyi's 陶宗儀 Shuofu 說郛 from the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) is incomplete.
The Jiaofangji is included in the reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Xu baichuan xuehai 續百川學海, Gujin yishi 古今逸史, Gujin shuohai 古今說海, Gezhi congshu 格致叢書, Shuofu, Wuchao xiaoshuo 五朝小說, Tangren shuohui 唐人說薈, Tangdai congshu 唐代叢書, Congshu jicheng 叢書集成 and Quantangwen.
In 1959 it was published by the Zhongguo xiju press 中國戲劇出版社 as part of the collection Zhongguo gudian xidian lunzhu jicheng 中國古典戲曲論著集成. In 1962 the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 published a modern annotated version under the title of Jiaofengji jianding 教坊記箋訂.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2239. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
Wan Yunjun 萬雲駿 (1986). "Jiaofangji 教坊記", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學, vol. 1, p. 310. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.
Stephen H. West (1986). "Chiao-fang-chi 教坊記", in William H. Nienhauser, ed. The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature (Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press), 268-269.