An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Yunlu manchao 雲麓漫鈔

Aug 15, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Yunlu manchao 雲麓漫鈔 "Loose notes of the cloud-covered foothill" is a "brush-notes"-style book (biji 筆記) written during the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) by Zhao Yanwei 趙彥衛 (jinshi degree 1163), courtesy name Jing'an 景安. He was mayor (zhangguan 長官) of Wuchang 烏程 during the Shaoxi reign-period 紹熙 (1190-1194) and then controller-general (tongpan 通判) of the prefecture of Huizhou 徽州. In the preface from 1206, the author says that he was "governor" of the "commandery" (jun shou 郡守) of Xin'an 新安.

The original title of the book was Yonglu xianji 擁爐閑紀 or Yonglu xianhua 擁爐閒話 "Leisure talks while crowding around the oven" and had a length of 10 juan. In this form the book was printed, but after his appointment as governor (prefect?) Zhao Yanwei added five further fascicles and gave his book the present title. About thirty per cent of the book consist of matters of Song history, while the rest is concerned with a large amount of different themes. Quite interesting is the fact that several historical facts are seen from a very different point of view. The powerful Counsellor Qin Hui 秦檜 (1091-1155) is not criticized, and the trial and execution of general Qu Duan 曲端 (1091-1131) is said to have been a plot of Wang Shu 王庶 (d. 1143) alone, while Zhang Jun 張浚 (1097-1164) was not involved. The author corrects some errors crept into older writings, like the history of a painting of eighteen academicians (Shiba xueshi tu 十八學士圖), the names of diviners (guice 龜策) in the history Shiji 史記, the forgery of Wang Xianzhi's 王獻之 (344-386) inscription Baomu muzhuan 保母墓磚, Wang Mang's 王莽 (45 BCE-23 CE) reform of weights and measures, or the late provenance of tomb offerings (muji 墓祭).

The Yunlu manchao played an important role in the reconstruction of Lü Dafang's 呂大防 (1027-1097) urban geography Chang'antu 長安圖. It includes a list of successful candidates of the state examinations during the Tang period 唐 (618-907) and tells the cost to the Song court of a diplomatic mission from the Jin empire 金 (1115-1234). It is especially the chapters on the relationship between these two empires that make the Yunlu manchao a valuable historiographical source.

In spite of all these helpful informations the Yunlu manchao also includes some statements from ancient books that are clearly wrong, like 集 instead of 雉 (quotation from the Confucian Classic Lunyu 論語), the family name of Lady Ru 如姬, a quotation about lotus roots from Tao Hongjing's 陶弘景 (456-536) pharmacopoeia Mingyi beilu 名醫別錄, or a strange explanation of the name of the Epang Palace 阿房宮 of the First Emperor of Qin 秦始皇帝 (r. 246-210 BCE). Except the two first prints of the book, there was another 10-juan edition published by Zhu Yizun 朱彝尊 (1629-1709) during the Qing period 清 (1644-1911).

The Yunlu manchao is to be found in the series Shewen zijiu 涉聞梓舊, Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編, Zhongguo wenxue ziliao xiao congshu 中國文學參考資料小叢書 (all with the 15-juan version), Baihai 稗海, Biji xiaoshuo daguan 筆記小說大觀 (with an excerpt of 4 juan), Shuofu 說郛 (Wanwei Shantang 宛委山堂 edition, 1 juan, and Shangwu Yinshuguan 商務印書館 edition, no juan division) and Jiuxiaoshuo 舊小說 (only 1 paragraph).

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Wang Jie 王劼, Zheng Zhaocong 曾昭聰 (2006). "Songdai biji Yunlu manchao zhong de yuyan yanjiu 宋代筆記《雲麓漫抄》中的語言研究", Guangxi shehui kexue 廣西社會科學, 2006 (4): 145-147+167.
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Zhang Lei 張雷 (2000). "Xinjian Yunlu manchao Wang Bing'en shou jiaoben 新見《雲麓漫抄》王秉恩手校本", 2000 (4): 81-83.
Zheng Yunbo 鄭雲波, ed. (1992). Zhongguo gudai xiaoshuo cidian 中國古代小說辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 425.
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