An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Gujin tushu jicheng 古今圖書集成

Jul 17, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

The Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) book Gujin tushu jicheng 古今圖書集成 "Complete collection of pictures and books of old and modern times" is the largest encyclopaedia of premodern China. It has a total length of 10,000 juan and was compiled on imperial order of the Kangxi Emperor 康熙帝 (r. 1661-1722) between the years 1701 and 1706 under the supervision of Chen Menglei 陳夢雷 (1650-1741) and Jiang Tingxi 蔣廷錫 (1669-1732). The original title of the draft was Gujin tushu huibian 古今圖書彙編. In 1722, the Yongzheng Emperor 雍正帝 (r. 1722-1735) ordered Jiang Tingxi to revise the draft. The revision was finished in 1726, and the title was changed the known Gujin tushu jicheng.

The encyclopaedia is divided into six parts (bian 編) with 32 "canons" (dian 典, in the draft called zhi 志 "treatise") dealing with 6,117 themes. The index alone has a volume of 40 juan. The particular parts (bu 部) are composed of 9 different types of literary allusions, namely:

彙考 huikao assembled explanations
縂論 zonglun general discussion
圖表 tubiao illustrations and tables
列傳 liezhuan quotations from biographies
藝文 yiwen literary allusions
選句 xuanju selected verses
紀事 jishi historical events
雜錄 zalu miscellaneous records
外編 waibian further records

Not all types are used for each entry. The encyclopaedia quotes from 3,525 books, with 77,000 quotations in total, some of them used several times for different themes.

Figure 1. Beginning of the Gujin tushu jicheng 古今圖書集成
Assembled explanations (huikao 彙考) on the lemma "Heaven" (tian 天). The sources are listed in a kind of table of contents, naming chapters of the Yijing 易經, Liji 禮記, the apocryphal books Chunqiu wei 春秋緯, Heluo wei 河洛緯, etc. From the Liji, for instance, phrases from the chapters Quli 曲禮 and Yueling 月令 are quoted - the former including a commentary (zhu 注) quoting from the Lüshi chunqiu 呂氏春秋, and the latter with no less than six examples (又...又...)

There are four different prints of the Gujin tushu jicheng, the first, a moveable letter print, was made in 1728 by the Imperial Printing Shop in the Wuying Hall 武英殿. The second print was made by the British newspaper publisher Ernest Major (1830?-1908, Chinese name Meicha 美查) in Shanghai between 1884 and 1888, in 1,500 copies. In 1889 the court ordered the Foreign Office (Zongli yamen 總理衙門) to negotiate with the Tongwen Press 同文書局 in Shanghai to publish a further edition. The print was finished in 1894. The 100 copies included 24 volumes of corrigenda (Kaozheng 考證).

In 1934, the Zhonghua Shuju Press 中華書局 in Shanghai published an edition in reduced size. In 1985 the Zhonghua Shuju Press and the Ba-Shu Press 巴蜀書社 reprinted the 1934 edition in 82 (in total 121) volumes.

Figure 2. Text from the Gujin tushu jicheng 古今圖書集成
Image and text explaining the declination of the sun through the "cold and warm" seasons of the year, as caused by its "vicinity and distance" (Rilun yuanjin fen hanshu tu[shuo] 日輪遠近分寒暑圖[說]).

There is a supplement published in 1977 by the Taiwanese Dingwen Press 鼎文書局 that is called Gujin tushu jicheng xubian chugao 古今圖書集成續編初稿 "A tentative draft of a supplement to the Complete Collection". This book of 78 juan length imitates the structure of the original encyclopaedia. It makes use of sources written after the Kangxi reign-period or even after the Qing period, like the treatises of the Qingshigao 清史稿, the Da-Qing huidian 大清會典, Qingchao xu wenxian tongkao or the Qingshilu 清實錄.

Table 1. Contents of the Gujin tushu jicheng 古今圖書集成
I. 天象 Celestial Matters (121 parts, 544 chapters)
典 1. 乾象 Qianxiang The Heavens
2. 歲功 Suigong The year
3. 曆法 Lifa Astronomy and arithmetics
4. 庶徵 Shuzheng Strange phenomena
II. 方輿 Geography (1'187 parts, 2'144 chapters)
5. 坤輿 Kunyu The Earth
6. 職方 Zhifang Political divisions of China
7. 山川 Shanchuan Mountains and rivers
8. 邊裔 Bianyi Foreign countries
III. 明倫 Human Relationship (2'922 parts, 2'604 chapters)
9. 皇極 Huangji The Emperor
10. 宮闈 Gongwei The Imperial Household
11. 官常 Guanchang The government service
12. 家範 Jiafan Family relationships
13. 交誼 Jiaoyi Social intercourse
14. 氏族 Shizu Clan and family names
15. 人事 Renshi Human affairs
16. 閨媛 Guiyuan Womankind
IV. 博物 Science (1'130 parts, 1'656 chapters)
17. 藝術 Yishu Arts, occupations, and professions
18. 神異 Shenyi Religion
19. 禽蟲 Qinchong The animal kingdom
20. 草木 Caomu The vegetable kingdom
V. 理學 Scholarship (237 parts, 1'220 chapters)
21. 經籍 Jingji Canonical and other literature
22. 學行 Xingxue The conduct of life
23. 文學 Wenxue Branches of literature
24. 字學 Zixue Characters and writing
VI. 經濟 Governance (450 parts, 1'832 chapters)
25. 選舉 Xuanju The examination system
26. 銓衡 Quanheng The official career
27. 食貨 Shihuo Food and commerce
28. 禮儀 Liyi Ceremonies
29. 樂律 Yuelü Music
30. 戎政 Rongzheng Military administration
31. 祥刑 Xiangxing Law and punishment
32. 考工 Kaogong Industries and manufactured articles
Cao Hongjun 曹紅軍 (2007). "Gujin tushu jicheng banben yanjiu 《古今圖書集成》 版本研究", Gugong Bowuyuan xuankan 故宮博物院院刊, 2007 (3): 53-66+157.
Cui Wenyin 崔文印 (1998). "Shuo Gujin tushu jicheng ji qi bianzhe 說《古今圖書集成》及其編者", Shixue shi yanjiu 史學史研究, 1998 (2): 600-607.
Duan Wei 段偉 (2012). "Gujin tushu jicheng de jiansuo fang 《古今圖書集成》的檢索方", Tushuguan xuekan 圖書館學刊012 (1): 41-42.
Fang Ren 方任 (1983). "Gujin tushu jicheng de bianzuanzhe Chen Menglei 《古今圖書集成》的編编纂者陳夢雷", Cishu yanjiu 辭書研究, 1983 (6): 161-162.
Guo Songyi 郭松義 (1992). "Gujin tushu jicheng 古今圖書集成", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 257-258.
He Jun 何軍 (1993). "Gujin tushu jicheng 古今圖書集成", in Shi Quanchang 石泉長, ed. Zhonghua baike yaolan 中華百科要覽 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), 604.
He Ling 何玲 (2015). "Guangxu chao shiyin Gujin tushu jicheng de liuchuan yu fenbu 光緒朝石印《古今圖書集成》的流傳與分布", Zhongguo dianji yu wenhua 中國典籍與文化, 2015 (4): 75-84.
Huang Haibo 黃海波 (2007). "Gujin tushu jicheng yixue wenxian de yingyong 《古今圖書集成》醫學文獻的應用", Beijing Zhongyiyao Daxue xuebao (Zhongyi linchuang ban) 北京中醫藥大學學報(中醫臨床版), 2007 (5): 33-35.
Ji Shuying 冀淑英, Lin Xiao'an 林小安 (1993). "Qing Yongzheng si nian neifu tong huozi yinben Gujin tushu jicheng 清雍正四年内府銅活字印本古今圖書集成", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Wenwu bowuguan 文物•博物館 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 436.
Jiang Feng 蔣風, ed. (1990). Xinbian wen-shi-di cidian 新編文史地辭典 (Hangzhou: Zhejiang renmin chubanshe), 785.
Jiaoyu da cidian bianzuan weiyuanhui 《教育大辭典》編纂委員會, ed. (1991). Jiaoyu da cidan 教育大辭典, part 8, Zhongguo gudai jiaoyu shi 中國古代教育史 (Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 361.
Li Baohua 李保華 (1993). "Gujin tushu jicheng 古今圖書集成", in Ru Xin 汝信, ed. Shijie baike zhuzuo cidian 世界百科著作辭典 (Beijing: Zhongguo gongren chubanshe), 463.
Li Bingzhong 李秉忠, Wei Canjin 衛燦金, Lin Conglong 林從龍, eds. (1990). Jianming wenshi zhishi cidian 簡明文史知識詞典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 609.
Li Shanqiang 李善强 (2014). "Gujin tushu jicheng shiyinben yu tonghuoziben kaoyi 《古今圖書集成》石印本與銅活字本考異", Tushuguan jie 圖書館界, 2014 (1): 8-9+21.
Magone, Rui (2008). "The textual tradition of Manuel Dias' Tianwenlüe", in Luís Saraiva, Catherine Jami, eds. The Jesuits, the Padroado and East Asian Science (1552-1773) (Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific), 123-138.
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), 689.
Qi Zhifen 戚志芬 1983). "Gujin tushu jicheng ji qi bianzhe 《古今圖書集成》及其者", Wenxian 文獻, 1983 (3): 256-268.
Wang Yuguang 王余光, Xu Yan 徐雁, ed. (1990). Zhongguo dushu da cidian 中國讀書大辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 1090.
Wu Chengxue 吳承學 (2012). "Lun Gujin tushu jicheng de wenxue yu wenti guannian: Yi Wenxue dian wei zhongxin 論《古今圖書集成》的文學與文體觀念——以《文學典》為中心", Wenxue pinglun 文學評論, 2012 (3): 29-39."
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 194.
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), 141.
Xiang Xuan 項旋 (2014). "Gujin tushu jicheng guan zuanxiu renyuan kaoshi 古今圖書集成館纂修人員考實", Wenshi 文史, 2014 (4): 143-162.
Yang Hu 楊虎 (2013). "Qianlong chao Gujin tushu jicheng zhi tonghuozi xiaohui kao 乾隆朝《古今圖書集成》之銅活字銷毀考", Lishi dang'an 歷史檔案, 2013 (4): 87-93.
Yang Qinfang 楊勤芳 (2004). "Zhongguo gudai de leishu: Jian ji Yongle da dian, Gujin tushu jicheng shujie 中國古代的類書——兼及《永樂大典》、《古今圖書集成》述介", Lishi jiaoxue wenti 歷史教學問題, 2004 (6): 104-105+10.
Yang Wei 楊威 et al. (2016). "Tujin tushu jicheng yixue sixiang yanjiu 《古今圖書集成》醫學思想研究", Zhongguo Zhongyiyao tushu qingbao zazhi 中國中醫藥圖書情報雜誌, 2016 (6): 49-52+55.
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Yu Cuiling 于翠玲 (2017). "Xifang shuji shi shijiao xia de Zhongguo chuban shi de chayi: Yi Qingdai guanxiu leishu Gujin tushu jicheng wei jujiaodian 西方書籍史視角下中國出版史的差異——以清代官修類書《古今圖書集成》為聚焦點", Zhongguo chuban shi yanjiu 中國出版史研究, 2017 (2): 28-40.
Yuan Yi 袁逸 (1988). "Gujin tushu jicheng 古今圖書集成", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Xinwen chuban 新聞出版 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 117.
Zhang Guizhen 張桂珍 (1997). "Gujin tushu jicheng 古今圖書集成", in Men Kui 門巋, Zhang Yanjin 張燕瑾, eds. Zhonghua guocui da cidian 中華國粹大辭典 (Xianggang: Guoji wenhua chuban gongsi), 730.
Zhang Qiyu 張琪玉 (2000). "Guji suoyin de yi ge fanli: Jieshao Gujin tushu jicheng dianziban de suoyin shujuku 古籍索引的一個範例——介紹《古今圖書集成》電子版的索引數據庫", Tushuguan zazhi 圖書館雜誌, 2000 (5): 48-49.
Zhao Changhai 趙長海 (2004). "Gujin tushu jicheng banben kao 《古今圖書集成》版本考", Guji zhengli yanjiu xuekan 古籍整理研究學刊, 2004 (3): 43-47.
Zhao Cuili 趙崔莉, Mao Liping 毛立平 (2011). "Gujin tushu jicheng Guiyuan dian de bianzuan tili ji jiazhi 《古今圖書集成·閨媛典》的編纂體例及價值", Anqing Shifan Xueyuan xuebao (Shehui kexue ban) 安慶師範學院學報 (社會科學版), 2011 (1): 56-60.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤 (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe), 396-400, 516.
Zhao Rongwei 趙榮蔚 (2004). "Gujin tushu jicheng dui woguo chuantong xueshu wenhua de zhenghe 《古今圖書集成》對我國傳統學術文化的整合", Tushuguan lilun yu shijian 圖書館理論與實踐, 2004 (5): 51-53.
Zhou Yi 周禕 (2022). "Gujin tushu jicheng de banben yuanliu ji wenxian jiazhi 《古今圖書集成》的版本源流及文獻價值", Henan Tushuguan xuekan 河南圖書館學刊, 2022 (1): 135-137.