An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Qunshu kaosuo 群書考索

Dec 15, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Qunshu kaosuo 群書考索 "Investigative guide to the numerous books" (also written 羣書考索), also with under the name Shantang kaosuo 山堂考索 "Investigative guide from the Shantang Studio", is a political encyclopaedia compiled during the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) by Zhang Ruyu 章如愚 (early 13th cent.), courtesy name Junqing 俊卿, whose style was Master Shantang 山堂先生.

The book was finished in 1224 and had a length of 100 juan, divided into ten fields of study. Prints from the Yuan 元 (1279-1368) and Ming 明 (1368-1644) periods include supplements by later, unknown scholars. The first collection or series (qianji 前集) is 66-juan-long, the second (houji 後集) one 65, the third collection (xuji 續集) 56 juan, and the fourth (bieji 別集) 25 juan, making a total size of 212 juan, divided into 53 fields of study. The series Siku quanshu 四庫全書 contains this enlarged version.

The main content of the encyclopaedia are topics on statecraft, and it is therefore of great importance for the study of the Song-period administration. Because of the compilation history, some matters are dealt with in two places, and some similar themes are included in different sections.

There is the original print from the Song period with 100 juan, a print from the Yanyou reign-period 延祐 (1314-1320), a print from 1508 by Liu Hong's 劉洪 Shenzhai Studio 慎齋, and the print as part of the Siku quanshu.

Table 1. Contents of the Qunshu kaosuo 群書考索
前集 First collection
1-8 六經門 The Six Classics
9 經史門 History of the Classics
10-11 諸子百家門 The hundred schools and masters
12-17 正史門 Official historiography
18 聖翰門 The sacred brush
19 類書門 Encylcopaedias
20-22 文章門 Literature
23-39 禮門 Rites
40 儀衞門 The Procession Guard
41-56 禮器門 Ritual objects
47-52 樂門 Music
53 律曆門 Pitch pipes and calendar
54-57 曆數門 Calendar
58 天文門 Astronomy
59-66 地理門 Geography
後集 Second collection
1-25 官制門 The administrative system
26-34; 36-42 士門 The scholars (state examinations)
35 姓門 Families
38-40; 44-50 兵門 The military
41-43 兵制門 Military administration
51 民門 The common people and governance
52 財門 Price adjustment and taxation
53 賦稅門 Field tax
54-57 財賦門 Grain transport, labour corvée, and government monopolies
58-64 財用門 Money, and government revenue and expenditure
65 刑門 Penal law
續集 Third collection
1-12 經籍門 The Classics and other writings
13-16 諸史門 Historiography
17-18 文章門 Literature
18 翰墨門 Brush and ink
19 律曆門 Pitch pipes and the calendar
20-21 律門 The pitch pipes
22-23 曆門 Calendar and time measuring
24 五行門 The Five Agents
25-27 禮樂門 Music
28 封建門 Investiture of imperial relatives and other dignitaries
29-39 官制門 The administrative system
40-44 兵制門 The military system
45-46 財用門 State revenues and grain transport
47-52 輿地門 Administrative geography
53-54 君道門 The way of the ruler
55 臣道門 The way of the minister
56 聖賢門 Saints and worthies
別集 Fourth collection
1 圖書門 Charts related to the Changes
2-11 經籍門 The Classics and other writings
12 諸史門 Historiography
13-15 禮樂門 Rites and music
16-17 曆門 Calendar and time measuring
18 人臣門 Ministers and officials (central government)
19 士門 The scholars (state examination)
20 財用門 Government revenue and price adjustment
21 兵門 The military system
22 夷狄門 The barbarians
23-25 邊防門 Border defence
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