An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Hanyuan xinshu 翰苑新書

Feb 15, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Hanyuan xinshu 翰苑新書 "New book of the literati garden" is an encyclopedia compiled during the Song period 宋 (960-1279). The author is not known, the origin from the Song period is attested in the preface by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Chen Wenzhu 陳文燭. Some Song period prints attribute authorship to Xie Fangde 謝枋得. The book consists of five collections that probably do not represent the original book but were compiled in the course of time by different authors. The first collection (qianji 前集) is 70 juan "scrolls" long , the second collection (houji 後集), in two parts, 32 juan, the third collection (bieji 別集) 12 juan, and the fourth collection (xuji 續集) 42 juan, making a total of 156 juan. The first collection mainly contains information about the state offices and administration, as well as on distinguished families (jiashi 家世, fayue 閥閱, zuozhu 座主) and notable persons among their retainers (mensheng 門生) through history. Each topic is first described by reporting historical facts, then described by quotations from source books, in prose as well as in poetry. The second collection is dedicated to the description of the great state rituals (da dianli 大典禮), as well as the system of memorials to the throne (biaojian 表箋), as used during the Song period. In the last part, the second collection investigates family names, education and official career. It can thus be seen as a complement to the first collection. The third collection describes the various types of documents (lizhuang 禮狀, zhiyu 致語, zhubiao 朱表, biaowen 表文, qingci 青詞, shuyu 疏語, cewen 冊文) used by the Song period administration, as well as in semi-official rituals (zhuwen 祝文, jiwen 祭文). The fourth collection contains memorials to the throne (qi 啟) by Song period officials, first arranged according to the governmental institutions to which the topic related, and then according to the particular affairs. Inspite of the loose arrangement of the whole series, the Hanyuan xinshu is an important collection of official documents of the Song period administration.
The Hanyuan xinshu was printed during the Wanli reign 萬曆 (1573-1619) by Zhou Yuexiao 周曰校. There was a manuscript copy in the Tianyige Library 天一閣 written by Liu Zishi 劉子實. It is included in the reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

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, 2043.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤, ed. (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe), 129-130.