An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Shuolüe 說略

Jan 21, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Shuolüe 說略 "Concise explanations" is an encyclopedic collection of short stories compiled during the Ming period by Gu Qiyuan 顧起元 (1565-1628), courtesy name Taichu 太初 or Linchu 鄰初, style Dunyuan Jushi 遁園居士, from Jiangning 江寧 close to Nanjing, Jiangsu. He obtained the jinshi degree in 1598, and had a career as xxx. 授翰林院編修,歷官南京國子監祭酒、吏部左侍郎兼翰林院侍讀學士。Gu wrote the books Gushi xiaoshi 顧氏小史, Jinling gujin tukao shuolüe 金陵古今圖考說略, Kezuo zhuiyu 客座贅語 and Dunyuan mangao 遁園漫稿.

The book includes a supplement compiled by the author's brother Gu Qifeng 顧起鳳 (b. 1583). Some scholars attribute authorship of the book to Yu Maoheng 余懋衡 (d. 1629), courtesy name Chiguo 持國 or Pingbo 平伯, style Shaoyuan 少原. The preface has been written in 1613. It has a length of 30 juan (a version from the Tianqi reign-period 天啟, 1621-1627, is divided into 60 juan) and contains 21 chapters. The transmitted version, however, is arranged in 8 juan.

The book is a collection of stories and novellas arranged into several categories, similar to Zeng Zao's 曾慥 (early 12th cent.) Leishuo 類說 and Tao Zongyi's 陶宗儀 (1329-1410) Shuofu 說郛.

Table 1. Contents of the Shuolüe 說略
1. 象緯 Phenomena of the sky
2. 方輿 The earth (geography)
3. 時序 The seasons and time
4. 人紀 Human affairs
5. 官儀 State officials
6. 史別 History
7. 禮蕞 Rites
8. 律支 Law
9. 典述 Canons
10. 字學 Writing
11. 書畫 Calligraphy and painting
12. 李法 Military affairs
13. 冥契 Private matters
14. 居室 Buildings and living
15. 服飾 Clothing and adornment
16. 工考 Working
17. 諧志 Social intercourse
18. 食憲 Diet
19. 珍格 Jewellery
20. 卉牋 Plants
21. 虫注 Animals
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 2058.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤, ed. (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe), 271.
Zheng Yunbo 鄭雲波, ed. (1992). Zhongguo gudai xiaoshuo cidian 中國古代小說辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 348.