An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Peiwenzhai shuhua pu 佩文齋書畫譜

Mar 20, 2023 © Ulrich Theobald

Peiwenzhai shuhua pu 佩文齋書畫譜, full title (Yuding) Peiwenzhai shuhua pu (御定)佩文齋書畫譜, short title Shuhuapu 書畫譜 "Notes on calligraphy and painting", is a kind of encyclopaedia on calligraphy and painting compiled on imperial order during the early Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by a team under the guidance of Sun Yueban 孫岳頒 (1639-1708), Song Junye 宋駿業 (1653-1713), Wang Yuanqi 王原祁 (1642-1715), Wu Jing 吳暻 (b. 1662) and Wang Quan 王銓. The name of the book is derived from the Kangxi Emperor's 康熙帝 (r. 1664-1722) study, the "Studio of Respect for Civilized Refinement" (Peiwenzhai 佩文齋).

The book with a size of 100 juan was finished in 1705. It begins with theoretical discourses on calligraphy and painting, then discusses – including biographical information – the artworks of emperors, commoners, and anonymous ones. The book goes on with annotations on artworks (ti-ba 題跋) written by emperors, princes, and commoners (mainly famous personalities), analyses the originality of artworks, and concludes with the issues conoisseurship and collection.

The book assembles a wide range of information on the two types of art, based on earlier writings and critique. It is based on literature available in the Imperial Household Library (neifu cangshu 內府藏書). The structure is similar to the corresponding chapters in the encyclopaedia Gujin tushu jicheng 古今圖書集成, but the content is deeper and more refined. With regards to structure, the sources quoted are arranged according to their bibliographial genre, beginning with the Classics, historiography, the Masters and philosophers, and belles-lettres, and then going on to unofficial history books (baiguan 稗官, yesheng 野乘), geographical books, and ending with Buddhist and Daoist writings. The whole encyclopaedia quotes from 1844 sources which are minutely indicated after each quotation. This scholarly procedure follows earlier methods as seen in Zhang Mingyu's 張鳴玉 (Zhang Minghuang 張鳴鳯, fl. 1589) Guigu 桂故 and Guisheng 桂勝 or Dong Sizhang's 董斯張 (1586-1628) Wuxing fenzhi 吳興奮志.

There are, however, several shortcomings in the Shuhuapu: The history of artworks is not provided, for instance, owners or collections where individual artworks were to be found. The book does not sufficiently tell apart originals from copies or forgeries. A third weakness concerns biographies of artists. While there might be several different versions of their lives, the Shuhuapu does not collate them or present solutions for contradictions.

A lithographic print was published in 1883 by the Tongwen Shuju 同文書局 in Shanghai, and a modern edition was launched in 1984 by the Zhonghua Shuju 中國書店. It is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and Qinzaotang Siku quanshu huiyao 摛藻堂四庫全書薈要.

Table 1. Contents of the Peiwenzhai shuhua pu 佩文齋書畫譜
1.-10. 論書 Theory of calligraphy
1.-2. 書體 The "body" of calligraphies
3.-4. 書法 The methods of calligraphy
5.-7. 書學 The study of calligraphy
8.-10. 書品 The rating of calligraphy
11.-18. 論畫 Theory of painting
11.-12. 畫體 The "body" of paintings
13.-14. 畫法 The methods of painting
15.-16. 畫學 The study of painting
17.-18. 畫品 The rating of painting
19.-20. 歷代帝王書 Calligraphies of emperors and princes through the ages
21. 歷代帝王畫 Paintings of emperors and princes through the ages
22.-44. 書家傳 Biographies of calligraphers
45.-58. 畫家傳 Biographies of painters
59.-64. 歷代無名氏書 Anonymous calligraphies through the ages
65.-66. 歷代無名氏畫 Anonymous paintings through the ages
67. 御製書畫跋 Imperial annotations on calligraphies and paintings (of the Qing dynasty)
68. 歷代帝王書跋 Annotations of emperors and princes on calligraphies through the ages
69. 歷代帝王畫跋 Annotations of emperors and princes on paintings through the ages
70.-80. 歷代名人書跋 Annotations of celebrities on calligraphies through the ages
81.-87. 歷代名人畫跋 Annotations of celebrities on paintings through the ages
88.-89. 書辨證 Assessment of calligraphies
90. 畫辨證 Assessment of paintings
91.-94. 歷代鑒藏書 Appraisal and collection of calligraphies through the ages
95.-100. 歷代鑒藏畫 Appraisal and collection of paintings through the ages
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1815.
Tao Mingjun 陶明君, ed. (1993). Zhongguo hualun cidian 中國畫論辭典 (Changsha: Hunan chubanshe), 309.
Wang Yuguang 王余光, Xu Yan 徐雁, eds. (1999). Zhongguo dushu da cidian 中國讀書大辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 1214.
Wen Zhaoxin 溫肇炘, Wen Zhaohan 溫肇涵 (2003). "Mantan Peiwenzhai shuhua pu de Jingyongtang TOngzhi nian chongyinben 漫談《佩文齋書畫譜》的靜永堂同治年重印本", Tushuguan zazhi 圖書館雜誌, 2003 (6): 80-85.
Wu 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianmin Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 524.
Yue Yongnian 薛永年 (1992). "Peiwenzhai shuhua pu 佩文齋書畫譜", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Meishu 美術 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 611.
Zhao Lizhong 趙力忠 (1993). "Peiwenzhai shuhua pu 佩文齋書畫譜", in Ru Xin 汝信, ed. Shijie baike zhuzuo cidian 世界百科著作辭典 (Beijing: Zhongguo renmin chubanshe), 358.
Zhao Yanhui 趙彦輝 (2016). "Kangxi shiqi Zhongguo shuhua wenxian zhengli lüelun: Yi Peiwenzhai shuhua pu de bianzuan wei zhongxin 康熙時期中國書畫文獻整理略論——以《佩文齋書畫譜》的編纂為中心", Tuandong xuekan 關東學刊, 2016 (8): 157-160.
Zhao Yanhui 趙彦輝, Li Shaopeng 李少鵬 (2015)."Peiwenzhai shuhua pu bianzuan wenti chutan 《佩文齋書畫譜》編纂問題初探", Wenyin zhengming 文藝爭鳴, 2015 (7): 203-208.