An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Shuxu zhinan 書敘指南

Feb 5, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Shuxu zhinan 書敘指南 "A compass to literature" is an encyclopaedia compiled duirng the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) by Ren Guang 任廣 (fl. 1076). It was first printed in 1126 by Jin Hui 金匯. The printing blocks were destroyed so that, at the beginning of the Southern Song 南宋 (1127-1279), the copy preserved by a certain Master Yu 俞氏 had to be preserved as a manuscript, a process during which part of the book was lost. During the Kangxi reign 康熙 (1662-1722), a scholar called Jin Sheng 金券 obtained a copy stored by a Master Han 韓氏. There is also a reprint from the Wanli reign-period 萬曆 (1573-1619).

The received version has a length of 20 juan. The original title of the book was Shuji zhinan 書籍指南. The Shuxu zhinan is a kind of lexicon for all kinds of expressions found in the various types of literature, like, for example, different designations for an emperor or his dwellings. The content is arranged in 83 chapters.

Its similarity to glossary books encourages the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Jin Chang 金嘗 to publish it in one volume, together with the glossaries Erya 爾雅, Zuoyu 左腴 and Hanjuan 漢雋. He changed the name of the book to Xiuci zhinan 修辭指南 "A compass to revised wording" and used a quite confuse version of it in this edition.

The Shuxu zhinan is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

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, 2038.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤 (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe), 96.