An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Gezhi jingyuan 格致鏡原

Jan 21, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Gezhi jingyuan 格致鏡原 "Mirrored contexts for thorough investigations" is an encyclopaedia compiled during the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Chen Yuanlong 陳元龍 (1652-1736), courtesy name Guangling 廣陵, style Qianzhai 乾齋, Gaozhai 高齋 or Guangye Jushi 廣野居士, posthumous title Wenjiangong 文簡公, from Haining 海寧, Zhejiang. Chen's collected writings are called Airitang shi 愛日堂詩 and Airitang ji 愛日堂集. He compiled several collections on rhapsodies, Lidai fuhui 歷代賦彙 (and some supplements), and the "brush-notes-style" collections (biji 筆記) Bizhou ji 敝帚集, Dengying ji 登瀛集, Quesao ji 卻掃集, Huanzhao ji 環召集 and Nangai ji 南陔集.

In 100 juan or fascicles, the Gezhi jingyuan assembles all kinds of literary sources concerning material objects. These are categorized into 30 themes, with 886 sub-chapters. The quotations are mainly taken from the Confucian Classics and writings on history, but also, and to a lesser extent, from miscellaneous writings, novels, "wild histories", or dictionaries. The title is derived from the Neo-Confucian concept of thorough investigation to perceive the Heavenly order, which is inherent in all objects. Most objects are described with a lot of sources, but there are also some, to which not a lot of material is provided, like the armillary sphere (huntianyi 渾天儀), the water clock (kelou 刻漏), or the houqi 候氣 apparatus to determine the onset of spring. The sources are indicated in all cases.

There is a print from 1717 created by Master Chen 陳氏 in Guangzhou, a reprint by the same person from 1735, a print by the Shanghai Tongshu Press 上海大同書局 from 1888, and one by the Jishan Press 積山書局 in Shanghai from 1896. The Gezhi jingyuan is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Table 1. Contents of the Gezhi jingyuan 格致鏡原
1-4 乾象 Heaven
5-10 坤輿 The Earth
11-12 身體 The body
13-18 冠服 Caps and robes
19-20 宮室 Palaces and buildings
21-26 飲食 Eating and drinking
27 布帛 Fabric and textiles
28-29 舟車 Boats and carts
30-31 朝制 Court implements
32-36 珍寶 Jewels
37-40 文具 Tools of the study
41-42 武備 Military preparedness
43-44 禮器 Ritual instruments
45-47 樂器 Musical instruments
48 耕織器物 Tools for ploughing and weaving
49-51 日用器物 Tools for daily life
53-54 居處器物 Tools for living
55-56 香奩器物 Tools for incense and women
57-58 燕賞器物 Tools for banquets and rewards
59-60 玩戲器物 Tools for entertainment
61 Grains
62-63 Vegetables
64-67 Trees
68-69 Grasses and bushes
70-73 Flowers
74-76 Fruits
77-81 Birds
82-89 Beasts
90-95 水族 Aquatic animals
96-100 昆蟲 Worms and insects
Gao Zhenduo 高振鐸 (1991). "Gezhi jingyuan ji qi yinshu de tedian 《格致鏡原》及其引書的特點", Guji zhengli yanjiu xuekan 古籍整理研究學刊, 1991 (5): 6-9+49.
Li Baohua 李保華 (1993). "Gezhi jingyuan 格致鏡原", in Ru Xin 汝信, ed. Shijie baike zhuzuo cidian 世界百科著作辭典 (Zhongguo gongren chubanshe), 464.
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.
Pan Yinsheng 潘寅生, Guo Jiankui 郭建魁, eds. (1993). Zhonghua shehui kexue gongjushu cidian 中華社會科學工具書辭典 (Lanzhou: Gansu renmin chubanshe), 691.
Qian Yulin 錢玉林 (1982). "Chen Yuanlong de Gezhi jingyuan: Shiba shiji chu de keji shi xiaoxing baike quanshu 陳元龍的《格致鏡原》——十八世紀初的科技史小型百科全書", Cishu yanjiu 辭書研究, 1982 (5): 156-161.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1994). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Wenxue 文學卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 531.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤, ed. (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe), 404-405.
Zhongguo baike da cidian bianweihui 《中國百科大辭典》編委會, ed. (1990). Zhongguo baike da cidian 中國百科大辭典 (Beijing: Huaxia chubanshe), 427.