An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Fenlei zijin 分類字錦

Jan 21, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Fenlei zijin 分類字錦 "Brocade of words divided into categories" is a rhyme dictionary compiled on imperial order during the Kangxi reign-period 康熙 (1662-1722), and finished in 1722. In 64 juan or fascicles, idioms (chengyu 成語) from all ages and literary categories have been assembled, ranging from disyllabic to tetrasyllabic expressions. For each word, quotations from literature are presented, with the objective to provide a handbook for the composition of or the study of poetry. The quality of the Fenlei zijin is rated as very high, and the arrangement as very unique.

Figure 1. Beginning of the Fenlei zijin 分類字錦
As usual, the book begins with the topic "Heaven" (tian 天), and the binominal metaphoric expression (erzi chengdui 二字成對) fudao 覆幬 "cover", quoting from the Liji 禮記 "Records of Rites". The next section (not in the image) are binominal expressionals including the word tian 天 (erzi beiyong 二字備用), followed by trisyllabic (sanzi chengdui 三字成對), and tetrasyllabic (sizi chengdui 四字成對) metaphoric expressions. Edition Taibei: Wenyou shudian, 1967.

There is a print from the year of the finalization. The Fenlei zijin is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Table 1. Contents of the Fenlei zijin 分類字錦
1-2 天文 Heaven and the sky
3-4 節令 Seasons and time
5-6 地理 The earth
7-9 山水 Mountains and rivers
10-11 帝后 Emperors and empresses
12-13 倫常 Human relations
14-15 肢體 The body
16-17 人物 Human affairs
18-20 佩服 Clothes and adornment
21-22 飲饌 Diet
23-24 宮室 Buildings and living
25-27 器用 Tools and utensils
28-29 禮儀 Rites and ceremonies
30-31 音樂 Music
32-34 職官 State offices
35-30 政教 Government and education
39-40 文事 Literature
41-42 武備 Military preparedness
43-44 技藝 Skills and arts
45 境遇 Visits and travelling
46-47 釋道 Buddhism and Daoism
48 菽粟 Vegetables
49 布帛 Clothes and fabric
50 珍寳 Jewels
51-52 果木 Fruits and trees
53-54 花卉 Herbs
55-58 鳥獸 Birds and beasts
59-60 蟲魚 Creeping and swimming animals
61 數目 Numbers
62 卦名 Prognostication
采色 Colours
巧對 Binoms expressing skills
借對 Binoms using loan words
雙聲 Binoms using repetitive words
叠韻 Internal rhymes
63 偶字 Paired words
通用 Colloquial expressions
64 祥瑞 Auspicious signs
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 2059.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤, ed. (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe), 391.