An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Songbai leichao 宋稗類鈔

Jan 15, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Songbai leichao 宋稗類鈔 "Categorized anthology of petty matters from the Song period" is an encyclopaedic collection of notes to Song-period 宋 (960-1279) poetry (shihua 詩話) compiled during the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Pan Yongyin 潘永因 (fl. 1662), courtesy name Changji 長吉, from Changshu 常熟, Jiangsu.

The book of 8 juan length is divided into 59 chapters, with one juan of supplements. According to some bibliographies, there was a version of 36 juan length, with 60 chapters. The Songbai leichao imitates the famous collection Shishuo xinyu 世說新語 and quotes the discussions of Song-period scholars to a very wide range of topics. It has been highly recommended for the excellent quality of the language and the clarity and shortness of the paragraphs, so that it can almost be rated as a literary book instead of only an encyclopaedia.

Unfortunately, Pan does not indicate his sources. The style of Pan's book is exemplary and has been imitated by later scholars of the Qing period. The stories included in the Songbai leichao in fact also include events taking place in the Tang 唐 (618-907) and Yuan 元 (1279-1368) periods. The division into chapters with significant titles is very helpful for an overview of the broad topics Pan Yongyin was interested in.

The Songbai leichao is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Table 1. Contents of the Songbai leichao 宋稗類鈔
1. 君範 Rules for the sovereign
符命 Prophetic signs
吏治 Administration by officials
遭際 Vicissitudes in life
異數 Extraordinary calculations
誅謫 Chastisement and execution
2. 讒險 Slander and defamation
諂媚 Flattery and adulteration
科名 Fame by graduation
隱逸 Life in seclusion
躁競 Anxious for competition
奢汰 Waste and prodigy
叛逆 Rebels
3. 厚德 Rich of virtues
雅量 Magnanimity
鑒識 Conoisseurship
才幹 Talent and competence
品行 Classified conduct
忠義 Ideals of loyalty
貞烈 Martyrs of chastity
4. 家範 Family rules
志尚 Ideal guidance
豪曠 Bold and generous
放誕 Untrammeled and reckless
權譎 Tricky and planful
頤養 Taking care of oneself
閑情 Moods in leisuretime
異稟 Outstanding talents
5. 文苑 The garden of literature
博識 Knowledge
詩話 Poetry critique
詞品 Classification of poetry
儷語 Couplets
辭命 Appropriate wording
尚論 Clinging to the past
格言 Mottos
6. 箴規 Adhortation
稱譽 Praise
詆毀 Slander
詼諧 Humour
紕謬 Mistakes
尤悔 Regret
傷逝 Lament
7. 宗乘 Religion
道教 Daoism
報應 Redemption of good and evil deeds
神鬼 Spirits and ghosts
怪異 Strange matters
方技 Magic
工藝 Skills
音樂 Music
飲食 Drinking and diet
8. 古玩 Antiques
八法 The eight methods
丹青 Red and green (painting)
草木 Herbs and trees
鳥獸 Birds and beasts
搜遺 Supplement
Gao Yangzhi 高仰之 (2021). "Songbai leichao de shufa shiliao jiazhi 《宋稗類鈔》的書法史料價值", Shuhua shijie 書畫世界, 2021 (5): 75-76.
Jian Shengyu 簡聖宇 (2018). "Gediao yu zhuimu: Songbai leichao suo yun yinshi meixue sixiang xi 格調與追慕: 《宋稗類鈔》 所蘊飲食美學思想論析", Meishi yanjiu 美食研究, 2018 (4): 5-10.
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, 2160.
Lin Fei 林非, ed. (1997). Zhongguo sanwen da cidian 中國散文大辭典 (Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe), 428.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1994). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Wenxue 文學卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 336.
Yang Zhizhao 楊治釗 (2016). "Du Songbai leichao de ganwu 讀《宋稗類鈔》的感悟", Xianfengdui 先鋒隊, 2016 (4): 43-44.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤, ed. (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe), 373.
Zheng Yunbo 鄭雲波, ed. (1992). Zhongguo gudai xiaoshuo cidian 中國古代小說辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 355.