An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Qianqueju leishu 潛確居類書

Jan 23, 2023 © Ulrich Theobald

Qianqueju leishu 潛確居類書 "Encyclopaedia of the Lodge of Arcane Certainty" was compiled during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Chen Renxi 陳仁錫 ( 1581-1636), courtesy name Mingqing 明卿, style Qianqueju 潛確居. He hailed from Changzhou 長洲 close to Suzhou 蘇州, Jiangsu, and was director (jijiu 祭酒) of the Directorate of Education (guozijian 國子監) of the southern capital Nanjing, and participated in the compilation of the veritable records (shilu 實錄) of the emperors Shenzong 明神宗 (r. 1572-1619) and Guangzong 明光宗 (r. 1620). He is better known for his statecraft encyclopaedia Huang-Ming shifa lu 皇明世法錄.

The idea for his general encyclopaedia Qianjueju leishu is derived from Yu Anqi's 喻安期 (1574-1654) book Tangleihan 唐類函, whose sources are limited to writings up to the early Tang period 唐 (618-907). Chen continued Yu's project and collected information on a wide field of knowledge, from astronomy to human affairs. His book is divided into 13 categories with countless subcategories and has a total length of 120 juan. Chen commented on practically all of his quotations. The book was printed in Chen's hometown in 1632.

Table 1. Contents of the Qianqueju leishu 潛確居類書
1-3 玄象 Mysterious phenomena (astronomy)
4-5 歲時 Seasons and months
6-47 區宇 The earth
48-60 人倫 Human affairs
61-64 方外 Buddhism and Daoism
65-82 藝習 Propriety and conduct
83-85 稟受 Body and appearance
86 遭遇 Chance and defeat in human life
87 交與 Human encounters
88-94 服飾 Clothing
95-96 飲啖 Drinking and food
97-103 藝植 Cultivation of plants
104-120 飛躍 Wings and feet (animals)
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), 688.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 931.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤 (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe), 295.