An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Gusu zhi 姑蘇志

Oct 25, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

(Zhengde) Gusu zhi (正德)姑蘇志 "Local Gazetteer of Suzhou from the Zhengde Reign" is a local gazetteer of Suzhou 蘇州, Jiangsu (old name Gusu) compiled by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholars Lin Shiyuan 林世遠 and Wang Ao 王鏊. Lin Shiyuan came from Sihui 四會 in Guangdong and was prefect (zhifu 知府) of Suzhou after the Hongzhi 弘治 reign (1488-1505). Wang Ao, courtesy name Wang Jizhi 王濟之, came from Wuxian 吳縣, Jiangsu and was vice chief editor of the official dynastic history (shi fu zongzai 史副總裁), and finally Right Vice Minister of Personnel (libu you shilang 吏部右侍郎).

Figure 1. Map of Suzhou from Gusu zhi

After his retirement Lin Shiyuan began to collect historiographic information about Suzhou and compiled the 60 juan "scrolls" long Gusu zhi. He made use of earlier drafts like that of Wu Kuan 吳寬. Because Lin Shiyuan's book was not well-arranged, it was revised by Wang Ao during the Zhengde reign 正德 (1506-1521) and printed in 1506. The Gusu zhi is a very rich source on the history of Suzhou and is equally important as the two local gazetters on that city written by Fan Chengda 范成大 (Wujun zhi 吳郡志, Song period 宋, 960-1279) and Lu Xiong 盧熊 (Suzhou zhi 蘇州志, Hongwu reign 洪武, 1368-1398). It is included in the imperial reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Table 1. Contents of the (Zhengde) Gusu zhi (正德)姑蘇志
1 郡邑沿革表 Historical development of commanderie and towns
2-4 古今守令表 Tables of office holders through history
5-6 科第表 Tables of examination graduates
7 沿革 History
8-9 Mountains
10 Waters
11-12 水利 Hydraulic work
13 風俗 Customs and habits
14 户口 Registered households
15 田賦(稅課貢役附) Field tax (app. levies, tribes)
16 城池 City wall and moat
17 坊巷 Urban quarters
18 鄉都(市鎮村附) Villages (app. market towns)
19-20 橋梁 Bridges
21-24 官署 Institutions
25 學校(書院附) Schools (app. Academies)
26 倉塲 Granaries
27-28 壇廟 Temples
29-30 寺觀 Buddhist monasteries and Daoist temples
31 第宅 Residences
32 園池 Gardens and lakes
33 古跡 Historic places
34 塚墓 Tombs
35 吳世家(封爵氏族附) Biography of the house of Wu (app. investitures)
36 平亂 Public security
37-42 宦蹟 Carrier in the officialdom
43-58 人物 Eminent persons
59 紀異 History
60 雜事 Miscellaneous affairs
Fan Lili 范莉莉 (2015). "Mingdai fangzhi shuxie zhong de quanli guanxi: Yi Zhengde Gusu zhi de xiuzuan wei zhongxin 明代方志書寫中的權力關係——以正德《姑苏志》的修纂為中心", Anhui Daxue xuebao (Zhexue shehui kexue ban) 安徽大學學報(哲學社會科學版), 2015 (5).
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 1128.
Wang Zhaoming 王兆明, Fu Langyun 傅朗云, ed. (1991). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Dili 地理卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 232.