An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Shibinlu 實賓錄

Feb 5, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Shibinlu 實賓錄 "Guests of reality" is an encyclopaedia compiled during the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) by Ma Yongyi 馬永易 (fl. 1080), courtesy name Mingyu 明叟. Not much is known of the compiler's life, except that he wrote the history books Tang zhilin 唐職林, Yuanhe pengdang lu 元和朋黨錄 and Shouchun zazhi 壽春雜志.

The Shibinlu is mentioned in Chao Gongwu's 晁公武 (c. 1105-1180) Junzhai dushu zhi 郡齋讀書志 with the title of Yihaolu 異號錄 "Alternative names" and a length of 20 juan. In the bibliographical chapter in the official dynastic history Songshi 宋史, the book Shibinlu is listed, as well as a book Yihaolu, both with a length of 30 juan. It might be that the compilers of the Songshi erroneously listed the same book with two different titles, while Chao Gongwu mentioned an early title of the Shibinlu. The earlier title Yihaolu was changed by the Song-period scholar Wen Biao 文彪 to Shibinlu, according to a sentence in the Daoist writing Zhuangzi 莊子. Wen Biao had also added quotations overlooked by Ma Yongyi.

During the Yuan period 元朝 (1279-1368), the book was lost and survived that time only in fragments quoted in Tao Zongyi's 陶宗儀 (1329-1410) series Shuofu 說郛. During the Qing period 清 (1644-1911), it was possible to reconstruct 600 paragraphs from the encyclopaedia Yongle dadian 永樂大典. In how far these fragments represent the original version, cannot be known. The surviving parts make out a book with a length of 14 juan. Since that time the title Shibinlu has been preferred. The original title Yihaolu better reflects the content because the book deals with alternative and less known names of persons. There are, nevertheless, some fragments that have nothing to do with this topic. The book is a very helpful research tool for rarely used names of historical persons.

The Shibinlu is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書 as well as in the edition of the Shuofu printed in 1646 by the Wanwei Shantang Studio 宛委山堂 and its reprint from 1927, made by the Shanghai Shangwu Press 上海商務印書館. It has further been reprinted in 1934 in the series Siku quanshu zhenben chuji 四庫全書珍本初集 published by the Shanghai Shangwu Press.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds.g (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 2038.
Pan Yinsheng 潘寅生, Guo Jinkui 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), 580.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 561.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤 (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe), 95-96.