An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Kongshi tanyuan 孔氏談苑

Aug 29, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Tanyuan 談苑 "Garden of discussions" is a biji 筆記 "brush notes" style book allegedly written by the Song period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Kong Pingzhong 孔平仲. It is therefore also called Kongshi tanyuan 孔氏談苑 to avoid confusion with Wang Junyu's 王君玉 Guolao tanyuan 國老談苑 (also called Guolao xiantan 國老閒談), 楊億 Yang Yi's Tanyuan 談苑 (all from the Song period), or and Yu Huai's 余懷 Shandong tanyuan 東山談苑 from the early Qing period 清 (1644-1911). The 4 juan "scrolls" long Kongshi tanyuan includes stories about contemporarian persons. Unfortunatley many statements are not in accordance with evidence in other books, and the individual stories are quite fragmentary. It can therefore be doubted that Kong Pingzhong was the real author of this book, an assumption supported by Zhao Yushi's 趙與時 Bintuilu 賓退錄 and the fact that the imperial bibliography of the official dynastic history Songshi 宋史 lists two texts of Kong Pingzhong, namely Baishuo 稗說 and Zashuo 雜說, but no book called Tanyuan. Seen from the content the book is rather a collection of novellas than of historically based lives and events.
The Kongshi tanyuan is included in the reprint series Baoyantang miji 寶顏堂秘笈, Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Yihai zhuchen 藝海珠塵 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. 2146.