An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Sui-Tang jiahua 隋唐嘉話

May 28, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Sui-Tang jiahua 隋唐嘉話 "Fine stories from the Sui and Tang dynasties" is a "brush notes" style (biji 筆記) collection of stories written by the Tang period 唐 (618-907) scholar Liu Su 劉餗, courtesy name Liu Dingqing 劉鼎卿. He came from Pengcheng 彭城 (modern Xuzhou 徐州, Jiangsu) and was the son of the historian Liu Zhiji 劉知幾, author of the famous historical critique Shitong 史通. The Sui-Tang jiahua assembles stories from the Southern and Northern Dynasties 南北朝 (300~600) and the Sui period 隋 (581-618) until the Kaiyuan reign 開元 (713-741) of the Tang that are not included in official histories. Most stories date from the time of Emperor Taizong 唐太宗 (r. 626-649) of the Tang and of Empress Wu 武則天 (r. 690-704). In spite of its novelistic character the book served as a source for the official dynastic histories Jiutangshu 舊唐書 and Xintangshu 新唐書 and the universal history Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑒. It also provides information on poets and writers like Xue Daoheng 薛道衡 and Song Zhiwen 宋之問 or performing artists like Gao Qidai 高齊代 and Tayao Niang 踏搖娘.
Liu Su has also written a biographic collection called Guochao zhuanji 國朝傳記 or Guoshi yizuan 國史異纂 which is unfortunately lost except a few fragments that are to be found in the Sui-Tang jiahua. It might therefore be that these two titles were alternative titles of this book.
In 1979 the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 published a modern version, based on the version in the collection Gushi wenfang xiaoshuo 顧氏文房小說.

Cheng Yizhong 程毅中 (1986). "Sui-Tang jiahua 隋唐嘉話", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學, vol. 2, p. 802. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.