An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Qilu 七錄

Feb 19, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Qilu 七錄 "Seven records" was a bibliography written by the Liang-period 梁 (502-557) scholar Ruan Xiaoxu 阮孝緒 (479-536). He started collecting informations on old books already in his younger years and over time expanded his records. Of especial value in his catalogue was the literature from the Liu-Song 劉宋 (420-479) and Southern Qi 南齊 (479-502) periods which was already lost during the Tang period 唐 (618-907).

His 12-juan long bibliography was divided into an inner part (neipian 內篇) and an outer part (waipian 外篇). The inner part was divided into five categories (lu 錄 "records") of books, namely Confucian Classics (Jingdian lu 經典錄), records and biographies (Jizhuan lu 記傳錄), "masters" and military strategists (Zibing lu 子兵錄), belles-lettres and anthologies (Wenji lu 文集錄), and mathematical and mantic treatises (Shuji lu 術技錄). The outer part included Buddhist (Fofa lu 佛法錄) and Daoist (Xiandao lu 仙道錄) writings.

The Qilu listed in total 6,288 books in 55 categories, with a total physical volume of 44,526 juan. Ruan Xiaoxu in general followed the common categorization already established in earlier private and official bibliographies, like the imperial bibliography Yiwenzhi 藝文志 in the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書, but also invented some new categories and established a more complex and more exact system of categorization.

The Qilu was very important concerning the status of ancient books. It recorded apparently books from antiquity that were lost during the time, and gives evidence which contemporary texts were in circulation or not.

The Qilu is unfortunately lost, but the preface is preserved in the Buddhist book Guang hongmingji 廣弘明集. The Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Wang Renjun 王仁俊 reconstructed the Qilu on the base of the surviving information. The result is included in the reprint series Yuhan shanfang jiyi shu xubian 玉函山房輯佚書續編.

Table 1. Literary categories of the Qilu 七錄
Inner Part (neipian 內篇)
1 經典錄 Jingdian lu Confucian Classics
Yijing Text and commentaries on the Book of Changes
尚書 Shangshu Text and commentaries on the Book of Documents
詩經 Shijing Text and commentaries on the Book of Songs
禮記 Liji Text and commentaries on the Rites
樂記 Yueji Books on music
春秋 Chunqiu Text and commentaries on the Spring and Autumn Annals
論語 Lunyu Text and commentaries on the Confucian Analects
孝經 Xiaojing Text and commentaries on the Book of Filial Piety
小學 Xiaoxue Elementary learning and lexicography
2 記傳錄 Jizhuan lu Records and biographies
國史 Guoshi Dynastic histories
注歷 Zhuli Imperial diaries
舊事 Jiushi Affairs of antiquity
職官 Zhiguan Books on state offices
儀典 Yidian State rituals
法制 Fazhi Law canons
偽史 Weishi Histories of usurpatorious dynasties
雜傳 Zazhuan Miscellaneous biographies
鬼神 Guishen Stories of ghosts and immortals
土地 Tudi Books on geography
譜狀 Puzhuang Family registers
簿錄 Pulu Notes
3 子兵錄 Zibing lu "Masters" and military strategists
儒家 Rujia Confucians
道家 Daojia Daoist philosophers
陰陽家 Yinyangjia Yin-Yang thinkers
法家 Fajia Legalists
名家 Mingjia Sophists or dialecticians
墨家 Mojia Mohists
縱横家 Zonghengjia Coalition advisors or diplomatists
雜家 Zajia Miscellaneous thinkers or syncretists
農家 Nongjia Agronomists
小說家 Xiaoshuojia Storytellers
兵家 Bingjia Military treatises
4 文集錄 Wenji lu Belles-lettres and anthologies
楚辭 Chuci Poetry of the South and commentaries
别集 Bieji Collected writings of individual persons
總集 Zongji Anthologies and general collections
雜文 Zawen Miscellaneous writings
5 術技錄 Shuji lu Mathematical and mantic treatises
天文 Tianwen Astronomy and astrology
讖緯 Chenwei Apocryphal writings
曆算 Lisuan Calendar and mathematics
五行 Wuxing The Five Processes
卜筮 Bushi Divination by milfoil stalks
雜占 Zazhan Miscellaneous divination arts
刑(=形)法 Xingfa Geomancy
醫經 Yijing Medical treatises
經方 Jingfang "Classical methods"
雜藝 Zayi Miscellanous techniques
Outer Part (waipian 外篇)
6 佛法錄 Fofa lu Buddhist writings
戒律 Jielü Vinayas
禪定 Chanding Monastic rules
智慧 Zhihui Prajñā ("wisdom") writings
疑似 Yisi "Doubts and similarities"
論記 Lunji Treatises
7 仙道錄 Xiandao lu Daoist writings
經戒 Jingjie Writings on abstinence
服餌 Fu'er Diet
房中 Fangzhong The art of the bedchamber
符圖 Futu Talismans
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilindaxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1462.