An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Guang bowuzhi 廣博物志

Jan 21, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Guang bowuzhi 廣博物志 "Enlarged records about different topics" is an encyclopedic collection of miscellaneous informations compiled by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Dong Sizhang 董斯張 (1586-1628). The 50 juan "scrolls" long Guang bowuzhi is a kind of supplement to the Bowuzhi 博物志 of the Jin period 晉 (265-420) scholar Zhang Hua 張華. Zhang's book is a very short and unsystematic collection of various interesting descriptions. It does not discern between facts and fantasy and is very short in the informations it presents. Therefore, the Song period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Li Shi 李石 had already written a supplement, the Xu bowuzhi 續博物志. Li copied the structure of the Bowuzhi and thus contributed new information, but did not raise the quality of the book. Dong Sizhang did both. He assembled a lot of information from pre-Tang period sources and arranged these in 22 chapters, talking about 167 different themes. For all the sources he indicated the origin and took over the text in verbatim form, without altering it. Because Dong did not have originals at hand, he made use of vast collections like the encyclopedias Taiping yulan 太平御覽 and Taiping guangji 太平廣記. Unfortunately, he quotes these two books as his sources, and not the original titles from the Southern and Northern Dynasties period 南北朝 (300~600), which makes it necessary to check the two books for the original sources. The Guang bowuzhi has later been criticized for its low scientific level.
The first print was made in 1607. Another print of Master Jiang's 蔣氏 Gaohui Studio 高暉堂 dates from 1761. The Xuehai Studio 學海堂 has made a print in 1879. In 1991, the Yuelu press 岳麓書社 published a modern edition. The Guang bowuzhi is included in the reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

天道 Tiandao Astronomy
時序Shixu Calendar
地形 Dixing Geography
斧扆 Fuyi Axes and screens (i. e. the imperial palace)
靈異 Lingyi Spirits and the supernatural
職官 Zhiguan State offices
人倫 Renlun Human relationship
高逸 Gaoyi Persons of high moral
方徒 Fangtu Geography
閨壺 Jiahu Boudoirs and flasks
形體 Xingti Shape and body
藝苑 Yiyuan The literature garden
武功 Wudong War
聲樂 Shenguye Music
居處 Juchu Dwelling
珍寶 Zhenbao Jewellery
服飾 Fushi Clothing
器用 Qiyong Utensils and tools
食飲 Shiyin Eating and drinking
草木 Caomu Plants
鳥獸 Niaoshou Birds and beasts
蟲魚 Chongyu Worms and fish
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, 2049.
Liu Tianzhen 劉天振 (2012). "Guang bowuzhi xiaoshuo xingzhi tanlun 《廣博物志》小說性質探論", Zhongguo wenxue yanjiu (Jikan) 中國文學研究(輯刊), 2012 (2): 105-118.
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.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 56.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤, ed. (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe), 260.