An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Qianji 黔記

Sep 30, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Qianji 黔記 is the title of two books on the province of Guizhou, the first written during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Guo Zizhang 郭子章, and the second by Li Zongfang 李宗昉 (1779-1846) during the late Qing period 清 (1644-1911).

Guo Zizhang 郭子章 (1542-1618), courtesy name Xiangkui 相奎, style Qingluo 青螺 or Binyi Sheng 蠙衣生, hailed form Taihe 太和, Jiangxi, and was surveillance commissioner (anchashi 按察使) of Shanxi, governor (xunfu 巡撫) of Guizhou, and then Minister of War (bingbu shangshu 兵部尚書), holding concurrently the title of Junior Guardian of the Heir Apparent (taizi shaobao 太子少保). He also wrote the geographical books Yuzhangshu 豫章書, Ayunwangshan zhiGuayi zhi 瓜儀志, Junxian shiming 郡縣釋名, Shucao 蜀草 (on Sichuan), Yuecao 粵草 (on Guangdong), Jincao 晉草 (on Shanxi) and Qiancao 黔草, and compiled the biographical collection Shengmen renwu zhi 聖門人物志.

His book of 60 juan on Guizhou was proofread by Song Xingzu 宋興祖 and revised by Bi Sancai 畢三才. It consists of 34 chapters speaking of geography, history, literature, education, military affairs, taxes, tributes and levies, the postal system, eminent person and the native tribes of the province. The text is enriched with many maps of individual prefectures. The map of the province, Guizhou yutu 貴州輿圖, was based on Luo Wengong's 羅文恭 (1504-1564) atlas Guangyutu 廣輿圖.

The structure of Guo's Qianji imitated the biographical-thematical style (jizhuanti) of official histories, and included reports (ji 記), treatises (zhi 志), tables (biao 表), biographies (zhuan 傳), and discussions (lun 論).

The guideline of the book is nonetheless a geographical one covering all aspects usually touched on the the encyclopaedic style of local gazetteers. Guo used a wide range of sources for his book, like Xie Dongshan's 謝東山 Guizhou tongzhi 貴州通志 or Wang Laixian's 王來賢 Guizhou tongzhi 貴州通志, and so made it an important writing on Guizhou in the early modern period that was taken as a model in later times, for instance, the gazetteer Guiyang fu zhi 貴陽府志 from the Guangxu reign-period 光緒 (1875-1908). Quite interesting is the collection of Jiang Jinzhi's 江進之 poems (Qianzhong zashi 黔中雜詩) which gives insight into the live in a remote province.

Two fascicles of the text are lost (25-26 Taoni zhi 討逆志, on rebellions). The book was finished in 1602 or 1608. A mimeographic print of it (including a critical part, jiaokanji 校勘記) owned by the Guizhou Library (Guizhou Sheng Tushuguan 貴州省圖書館) was published in 1966. Other copies of the original are kept in the Beijing National Library (Beijing Guojia Tushuguan 北京國家圖書館) and the Shanghai Library (Shanghai Tushuguan 上海圖書館).

Li Zongfang 李宗昉, courtesy name Jingyuan 靜遠, style Zhiling 芝齡, hailed from Shanyang 山陽 (today's Huai'an 淮安, Jiangsu) and compiled his book when he was education-supervising commissioner (duxueshi 督學使) of Guizhou, in 1813. It has a length of 4 juan (in some editions only 1 fascicle) and is based on Tian Wen's Qianshu 黔書 as well as the then-valid local gazetteer Guizhou tongzhi 貴州通志, but with a focus on special topics. It speaks of geography, history, local products like wine, food, and cloth, and the local tribes.

The first part focuses on historic sites in Guiyang 貴陽, wine, and food, the second one on the author's visit of eminent persons of the region, as well as the school system, the famous salt road (yanyun 鹽運) and copper production. The third fascicle is dedicated to the tribes of Guizhou, their distribution, customs and habits. Such are the Luoluo 倮羅 (today called Yizu 彝族), Gelao 仡佬, and various Miao 苗 tribes some of which are today classified as individual "ethnic minorities", like Zhongjia Miao 仲家苗 (today Buyi 布依族), Tongjia Miao 侗家苗 (today Tong 侗族), or Yaomiao 夭苗 (today's proper Miao 苗族). The last chapter reflects the history of persons like the rebels Sun Kewang 孫可望 (1630-1660), Li Dingguo 李定國 (1620-1662) and Wu Sangui 吳三桂 (1612-1678).

The book was printed in 1813 and is included in the series Qianzhi si zhong 黔志四種, Wenmiaoxiangshi quanji 聞妙香室全集, Wenyinglou yudi congchao 問影樓輿地叢鈔, Qiannan congshu 黔南叢書, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 and Xiaofanghuzhai yudi congchao 小方壺齋輿地叢鈔.

Table 1. Contents of Guo Zizhang's 郭子章 Qianji 黔記
大事記 Overview of historic events
星野志 Treatise on astronomy
輿圖志 Treatise on geography
山水志 Treatise on topography
災祥志群祀志 Treatise on omina and portents
止榷志 Treatise on state monopolies
藝文志 Treatise on writings
學校志 Treatise on schools
職官志 Treatise on state offices
貢賦志 Treatise on tributes and taxes
兵戎志 Treatise on military and defence
郵傳志 Treatise on the postal system
公署志 Treatise on government institutions
公侯伯總兵參將都司守備志 Treatise on ennobled persons and military officials
總督撫按藩臬表 Table of governors-general, governors, and administration commissioners
文武科第表 Table of graduates of civilian and military examinations
貤恩表 Table of investitures by grace
帝王紀事 Annals-biographies of rulers
宦賢列傳 Biographies of worthy officials
遷客列傳 Biographies of foreign residents
寓賢列傳 Biographies of hidden worthies
鄉賢列傳 Biographies of worthies from the villages
忠賢列傳 Biographies of loyal worthies
孝子列傳 Biographies of filial sons
棲逸列傳 Biographies of scholars living in seclusion
淑媛列傳 Biographies of eminent females
方外列傳 Account on those beyond the borders
宣慰列傳 Biographies of pacification commissioners
故宣慰列傳 Biographies of ancient pacification commissioners
土司土官世傳 Biographies of native chieftains
諸族傳 Account on all tribes
古今西南總論 Comprehensive discussion on southwest China past and present
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