An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Chinese Literature - Index of Terms

You can browse by the traditional four categories (sibu 四部) or use the search function above. In addition to these features, the reader can browse through the chronological overview on the history of literature (navigation bar to the right), consult the section on literary genres (different from those in the four categories) or get information on important terms and themes in literature on the present page.

Transcription: Pinyin, syllables separated for alphabetical purposes.

(E)=Edwards 1948, (F)=Fairbank 1940.
A [top]
ai lament for a deceased person
aice 哀冊 (哀策) lament for a dead emperor or empress (E)
aici 哀詞 lament, funeral ode (E)
aiji 哀祭 elegies and orations for funerals and sacrifices (E)
ailei 哀誄 obituary for an emperor, a member of the imperial family, or a minister of state
apocryphal texts
B [top]
ba colophon (E), afterword
baguwen 八股文 "eight-legged essay", used in state examinations
baiben 白本 unendorsed, i.e. unanswered, memorial (F)
baihua 白話 "plain language", 1) a movement during late Qing/Republic (baihua yundong 白話運動) to use everyday language instead of classical language wenyan 文言, 2) modern everyday language
baijia 百家 the "hundred schools [of thought]" of the Eastern Zhou period
bang 榜 (牓) proclamation, public notification (E)
baoxiaoce 報銷冊 report appended to a memorial (F)
bashi 霸史 history of "hegemons" or independent rulers/states in China
bei tablet, inscription on or for a tablet (E)
beiji 碑記, beiwen 碑文 inscription on the back of a tablet, not including a poem (E)
beiming 碑銘 inscriptions on stone tablets or stelae
beiyin 碑陰 text on the reverse of a tablet (E)
beizhi 碑誌 inscription on an epitaph (E)
benzhang 本章 general term for routine memorials (F)
bi metapher, parable
bian 辨 (辯) argument, apodictic tract (E)
biannianti 編年體 chronological or annalistic type of historiography
bianwen 變文 "transformation texts" from Dunhuang, prosimetric narrative genre flourishing during the Tang period
biao memorial, manifesto (E)
biaoxu 表序 introduction (E)
biaozhang 表章 tributary memorial sent from a tributary state (F)
bibliography see mulu 目錄
biezhuan 別傳 unofficial supplementary biography (E)
bieshi 別史 unofficial history, often written as an alternative to official history
biji 筆記 "brush record" essays, a literary prose style popular from Song time on
bing 稟 (禀) report, petition, submitted by a commoner or a minor official (F)
bingcheng 稟呈, bingming 稟明 representation, form of document sent by a Chinese or foreign merchant or commoner to an official of the other country (F)
bizha 筆札 (筆劄) letter (E)
bo 駁, bolun 駁論 polemic essay (E)
boyi 駁議 memorial expressing a conflicting view, advising against a proposed course of action (E)
bronze inscriptions see jinwen 金文
buben 部本 routine memorial compiled in one of the Six Ministries (F)
bugao 佈告 edict
bulu 簿錄 catalogue, register
buzhuan 補傳 revised or emendatory, supplementary biography (E)
C [top]
canping 參評 adverse report on an inferior, accusation of inefficiency, venality, etc. (E)
cao lute-song (E)
ce treatise (E); memorial (E)
cewen 策問, ceshi 策試 questions for use in the official examinations
ce 冊, cewen 冊文 memorial presented on a special occasion (E); letter of patent, conferring a title of nobility or announcing an appointment (E)
cheng 呈, chengwen 呈文 petition, request, of ordinary persons and government institutions, submitted to higher authorities; report, petition used by minor district officials to prefects (F)
chengwen 程文 "dissertation", essay on a prescribes theme at the juren examination, introduced during the Song period (E)
chi 敕 (勅, 勑) edict (E); imperial command (F)
chiming 敕命, chishu 敕書 patent by command conferring titles of honour of officials below rank 5 (F)
chiyu 敕諭 command-edict used for special purposes, e.g. to depute officials (F)
chuanqi 傳奇 "transmission of strange things", stories of supernatural events and ghosts
ci a musical poetry style, contrafactury to an already existing melody, adapting its lyric metre, lyric-metre-style poetry, very popular during Song dynasty
ci irregular metrical composition (E); words of a text
ci name card used in lateral communction of high functionaries between the Jin and the Tang period
cifu 辭賦 prose-poety (rhythmic prose) (E)
cihua 詞話 critique and theory of ci poems
Confucian Classics canonized collection of ancient writings, in earlier times believed to have been edited by Confucius; known as Five Classics (wujing 五經) and Four Books (sishu 四書), or the Thirteen Classics (shisanjing 十三經)
congshu 叢書 series or collectanea, collections of books, often, but not necessarily, such on a particular theme, or outstanding editions in private libraries
D [top]
deyin 德音 edict composed by a minister and issued in the name of the emperor (E)
dian canon, statutes, collection of rules, regulations
diangu 典故 literary quotation, literary allusion, classical allusion
diaowen 吊文, diaoci 吊辭 (弔文, 弔辭) dirge burnt at the grave of a friend or a celebrity (E); condolences
dibao 邸報, dichao 邸抄 Beijing gazette (F)
die adverse reports, issued by censors accusing officials of inefficiency etc. (E); order (F)
diecheng 牒呈 report to superior officials (F)
difangzhi 地方誌 (地方志) so-called gazetteers, geographical histories of particular areas which were recompiled in irregular intervals. Precursor of newspapers.
du "on reading..." (E)
duandaishi 斷代史 history covering just one dynasty or a short series of dynasties
dui reply to the throne, memorial submitted in reply to an edict received for promulgation (E)
duiwen 對問 answer to a question (E), response text
Dunhuang manuscripts 敦煌
E [top]
edition, types of
F [top]
fanglüe 方略 (Manchu: bodogon-i bithe) military annals of the Qing period
fanli 凡例 introductory summary explaining the theme of a book, the manner of its compilation, etc. (E)
feng air, ode, with local taste, of the Shijing 詩經
fengshan 封禪 sacrifices to Heaven and Earth
fengshi 封事, fengzhang 封章, fengzou 封奏 memorial wrapped in an envelope (E); secret memorial (F)
fu edict, commission, authorization, tallies, contract (E)
fu rhapsody, a kind of prose-poetry flourishing during the Han period (E)
fuben 副本 copy, duplicate of a routine memorial (F)
fuming 符命 laudatory ode with introduction, about mandates through prophetic signs (E)
fupian 附片, fuzou 附奏 supplementary memorial (F)
G [top]
gao 稿, gaoben 稿本 rough draft, preliminary copy of published documents
gao announcement, order, patent, injunction, ordinance (E)
gaochi 誥敕 patent, credential, letter patent (F)
gaoci 告詞 order, injunction (E)
gaomiao wen 告廟文, gaozu wen 告祖文 announcement in the ancestral temple (E)
gaoming 誥命 patent by ordinance used to confer a title of honour of rank 5 and above (F)
gaotian wen 告天文 announcement to Heaven (E)
gaowen 告文 announcement to the spirits (E)
gexing 歌行 type of songs and verses of the music-bureau style
gongbiao 貢表 tributary memorial, submitted with tributary gifts (F)
gonghan 公函 official dispatch between institutions of the same jurisdictional level but under different authorities (F)
gongjie 公揭 dispatch (E)
gongtishi 宮體詩 palace-style poetry, flourishing during the Liang and Chen periods
guaiji 怪記 also called zhiguai 志怪 "reports of strange events", a kind of story or proto-novel very popular in each type of literature and through the ages
guan letter used for lateral communication on lower levels of local administration
guanci 冠辭 ode for use at the capping ceremony in the age of 20 sui (E)
guanglun 廣論 amplified essay, excursus (E)
guan 關, guanwen 關文 order (F)
gudie 故牒 order (F)
gui warning, lesson (E)
guoshi 國史 history of the then-reigning dynasty
guoshu 國書 national letter, credentials, letter to a foreign ruler (F)
gushi 古史 "old", unofficial history books (as seen from the Tang period)
gushi 故事 old stories, unofficial history books on miscellaneous matters; later "story" in the general sense
guwen 古文 1) versions of the Confucian Classics claimed to be compiled in pre-Qin times, see old-text/new-text debate,
2) simple, "old-fashioned" prose style revived during the Tang period in order to end the manieristic parallelism of the pianwen "paired-word" style
gushi 古詩 old poems from before the Tang period; old-style poems imitating old poems
H [top]
han letter (F)
haofang ci 豪放詞 "heroic abandon", a subgenre of lyric-metre-style poetry (ci 詞)
hebiao 賀表 expression of felicitation (E)
hezhuan 合傳 combined biographies of more than one person (E)
hezhuang 合狀 combined biographical notice to more than one person (E)
hongben 紅本 endorsed memorial (F)
houji 後記 revised or later record (E)
houxu 後序 colophon, with details regarding place and date of publication, as well as comments on the book itself (E)
huaben 話本 "narrative version", an early form of novels, based on a lengthy story that was told to the auditory in day-to-day sequences. Some of the huaben stories are direct precursors of the great novels.
huangce 黃冊 tax account, constructions report, examination result, documents submitted to the emperor along with memorials, bound in yellow paper or silk (F)
huapin 畫品 books of qualitative ranking of paintings
huji 笏記 brief commemorative record written on a jade, ivory, or bamboo tablet held with both hands before the breast during audiences (E)
hujie 互揭 dispatch
J [top]
jiaguwen 甲骨文 oracle bone inscriptions
ji 1) collection of writings of one person, one theme, or one genre
2) literary category of Belles-Lettres
ji gāthā, a Buddhist hymn or chant (E)
ji record of real persons and events (E)
ji 記, jixu 記序 record of events and affairs (E)
jian 箋 (jian 牋) memorandum (E); letter, address, written document, less formal than memorials, letter to a prince or an official of very high rank (E)
jian short letter, note (E)
jian 柬, jianshu 柬書 letter, slip of paper, note (F)
jian admonition, critique; remonstration against a verdict or legal decision; rejection of a document because of formal or factual deficits
jiangyi 講義 exegesis, interpretation of the teaching of the sages submitted for guidance to the emperor (E)
jianmian zhe 見面摺 audicence memorial prepared in advance (F)
jiao order, instruction or a prince or noble (E)
jiaoci 醮辭 composition or ode for use at sacrifice or libation, particularly for Daoist invocations (E)
jiaokanji 校勘記 critical apparatus to ancient texts
jiaozhi 交旨, jiaopian 交片 despatch from ministers to subordinate departments, jiaopian being a shorter form (F)
jiapian 夾片 supplementary memorial (F)
jiapu 家譜 family trees, family chronicles, genealogies
jiaxun 家訓 family instructions
jiazhuan 家傳 unofficial biography by a member of the family of the deceased (E)
jiazhuan 假傳 fictional biography (E)
jie 揭, jietie 揭帖 dispatch (E); placard, duplicate copy of a memorial (F)
jie 碣, jiewen 碣文 epitaph of an official (E)
jie explanation, interpretation, exegesis, like in jingjie 經解 (E)
jie 戒 (誡) warning, expostulation, interdiction (E)
jiwen 祭文 oration for use at worship and sacrifices written in prose, in antithetical style (E)
jingbao 京報 Beijing gazette (F)
jing 1) literary category of the Confucian Classics and commentaries on them,
2) an important book, treatise, monograph, classical work (E)
3) Chinese word for sūtra (see Buddhist writings)
jinshenlu 縉紳錄 rosters of government personnel
jinwen 今文 "new-script [texts]" or "new-text [writings]", versions of Confucian Classics written down in the early Han period, see old-text/new-text debate
jinwen 金文 "inscriptions in metal", inscriptions in Shang and Zhou period ritual bronze vessels and on various metal objects of the Warring States, Qin and Han periods
jishi benmo 紀事本末 history book arranged thematically instead of chronologically, historical events "from their beginning to the end" (in their entirety)
jiushi 舊事 old stories, unofficial history books on miscellaneous matters
jiuxi wen 九錫文 communication relating to an imperial gift (E)
jiwei zhao 即位詔 edict issued on ascending the throne (E)
jizhuanti 紀傳體 biographical-thematical type of historiography
juan "scroll" or "fascicle", a chapter-like unit in traditional books
juti 具題 headline, indicating the topic of a routine memorial (F)
jue art, mystery, secret (E); in Daoist writings: formula
jueju 絕句 short poems of the regular style (lüshi 律詩), quatrains
K [top]
kao examination, inquiry into, "investigating the facts and weighing the evidence" (E)
kaoyu 考語, kaoci 考詞 testimonial, character, triennial report on the quality of the administration of individual officials, made after inquiry (kaoji 考績) (E)
keshi wen 刻石文 inscription on a stone, composition for use on a memorial-stone
kouxuan 口宣 order to write an edict (E)
kuanzhi 款識 inscription on a vessel or an artwork
L [top]
lei dirge, obituary for an emperor, a member of the imperial family, or a minister of state (E)
leishu 類書 encyclopaedias
lianzhu 連珠 verses "linked like pearls", epigrammatic sayings, didactic maxims (E)
ling 令, lingzhi 令旨 command, order (in early times ming 命) (E); instruction (E)
lingzhi 另旨 separate rescript (F)
lingbiao 靈表, lingchuang 靈牀 obituary read before the bier of a deceased person (E)
liuyi 六藝 the "six arts" or "six skills"
liyan 例言 introductory summary explaining the theme of a book, the manner of its compilation, etc.
lu collected jottings, trivial notes, lists, collections (E)
lubu 露布 report, dispatch, in particular a report on the conduct and progress of a military operation (E)
lufu 錄副, lufuben 錄副本, lufu zouzhe 錄副奏折 copy, duplicate of a routine or confidential memorial
lüshi 律詩 regular poems, poems with regular length of verses (wuyan 五言, qiyan 七言)
lüe sketch of..., abstract, precis, summary; epitome
lun essay, disquisition (E), treatise
lunbian 論辨 essay (E)
lushu 錄書 copied materials kept at the Censorate (F)
lunyin 綸音 imperial utterances (F)
M [top]
manci 慢詞 long form of lyric-metre-style poetry (ci 詞)
memorial to the throne
mengwen 盟文 covenant, oath of agreement (E)
ming inscription, composed in prose or in verse, often with lines of irregular length (E); admonitory inscription (E)
ming command, order, charge; instruction
mingfa 明發 secret court letter, secret decree
mizhao 密詔 last edict issued by an emperor before his death or abdication (E)
mo memorial containing sugggestions regarding the course of action (E); counsel in the Shangshu 尚書
muban wen 墓版文 epitaph, written on a tablet of wood (E)
mubiao 墓表 eulogistic composition burnt at the grave of a friend or celebrity (E), tomb inscriptions
mujie ming 墓碣銘 epitaph with a poem
mulu 目錄 bibliography, catalogue or index
muzhi 墓誌 epitaph, inscription or biographical notice on a tomb-stone of a private person (E)
muzhiming 墓誌銘 epitaph consisting of a biographical notice and a poem engraved on a stone monument at a grave (E)
N [top]
nan refutation, rebuttal (E)
nianpu 年譜 biographies written in an annalistic style
nongyan 農諺 farmer's proverbs
O [top]
oracle bone inscriptions see jiaguwen 甲骨文
P [top]
pai 牌, paipiao 牌票, paiwen 牌文 order (F)
pailü 排律 sequential couplets of regular poetry (lüshi 律詩)
pan judgment, reply to a petition, decision on a case (E)
pi 批, pida 批答 rescript, answer of the authorities to petition, plaint, etc. from ordinary persons (E); simple endorsement, the emperor's answer to a memorial, called pihong 批紅 if written by clerks, and zhupi 硃批 (朱批) or yupi 御批 if written by the emperor in person (F)
piandan 片單 memorandum; short note (F)
piao slip notes; drafts for imperial rescripts to memorials
piben 批本 endorsed memorial (F)
pihong 批紅 compilation of an endorsement on a memorial (F)
pianwen 駢文 "couplet texts", rhythmic prose-poetry in a very subtle and even manieristic style popular during period of the Southern and Northern dynasties (see Yutai xinyong)
ping appraisement, critique (E)
pinghua 平話 see huaben 話本
pu list, register, catalogue, raisonné (E); musical notes
publication, history of
pudie 譜牒, puxi 譜系, puzhuang 譜狀 family trees, family chronicles, genealogies
Q [top]
qi composition divided into seven parts, like Qifa 七發 (E)
qi memorial (identical with shu 書) (E); letter, without referring to the distinction of rank, later used for communication to superiors (E)
qiben 啟本 routine memorial on civilian matters, same as tiben 題本 (F)
qianbiao 阡表 eulogistic composition burnt at the grave of a friend or celebrity
qijuzhu 起居注 "imperial diaries", daily unofficial court protocols; chronicle of the emperor's activities (F)
qingce 青冊 (清冊) green-bound account, list, report, appended to a memorial, copy of the yellow-bound original (F)
qingci 青詞 green or black Daoist invocation (E)
qingdan 清單 list, inventory (F)
qinshu 親書 domestic letter relating to betrothal, marriage arrangements, etc. (E)
qinzhao 親詔 last edict issued by an emperor before his death or abdication
qiwen 祈文, qidao wen 祈禱文, daowen 禱文 petition, composition for use at sacrifices (E)
qu "airs" a musical poetry style, often also translated as "aria", aria-style poetry, as part of Yuan dramas (juqu 劇曲), but also written separately as san qu 散曲 "concert arias"
quanji 全集 "collected works" of one person, in contrast to xuanji 選集 "selected works"
quannong wen 勸農文 composition relating to the encouragement of agriculture (E)
R [top]
renming zhuang 任命狀 letter of appointment
rhapsody see fu
S [top]
saiwen 賽文 thanksgiving (E)
sanqu 散曲 "loose arias", poems (originally songs) not being part of dramas
sanwen 散文 "loose literature (not bound to a verse pattern or rhyme)", is prose literature
saoti 騷體 "elegiac style" of early prose-poetry (E)
shangliang wen 上梁文 laudatory composition for use at the setting up of the main cross-beam of a new building (E)
shangshu 上書 letter or dispatch presented to the emperor or a superior (E); letter of submission
shangyan 上言 statement (E)
shangyu 上諭 imperial injunction, proclamation, might be issued by a minister; imperial edict, sometimes including the rescript (F)
shelun 設論 essay on a hypothetical theme, hypothetical discourse (E)
shen 申, shencheng 申稱, shenwen 申文, shenzhuang 申狀 report to superior officials (F), letter of objection
shendan 審單 decision promulgated after investigation of a case (E)
shendao bei 神道碑 monument or tablet in an avenue leading to a grave (E)
shendao biao 神道表 eulogistic composition burnt at the grave of a friend or celebrity
shengzhi 聖旨 sacred instruction, imperial edict
shewen 赦文, sheshu 赦書 pardon, general amnesty (E)
shi 1) abbreviation for Shijing 詩經 "Book of Songs"
2) very popular poetry style with equally long verses and with rhymes, in use from oldest times (Shijing, Shigu shi 石鼓詩), and the Han period (as gushi 古詩 "old-style poems": see Gushi shijiu shou 古詩十九首), and revived during the Tang period as lüshi 律詩 "regular poems" (see Tang shi poems 唐詩), and the shorter style jieju 絕句 "abridged sentences"
shi literary category of "Historiography and Statecraft"
shi manifesto, public notification by a minister of state or other official of a matter which concerns the people generally (E)
shi speech to the army in the Shangshu 尚書
shi explanation, interpretation (E)
shice 諡冊 document relating to the conferring of a posthumous title (E)
shichao 史鈔 excerpts from history books
shijia 世家 genealogy of princes (E)
shihua 詩話 critique and theory of shi poems
shijing 石經 "Stone Classics", text of Confucian Classics incised into stone slabs
shilu 實錄 "veritable records", official imperial chronicles (E)
shilüe 事略 sketch of events of a man's life (E)
shidian wen 釋奠文, shicai wen 釋菜文 composition for use when offering libations or sacrifices (E)
shiji 詩集 collected poems
shiling 時令 edicts concerned with the seasons and related agricultural work
shisanjing 十三經 The Thirteen Confucian Classics: Yijing 易經, Shangshu 尚書, Shijing 詩經, Zhouli 周禮, Yili 儀禮, Liji 禮記, Chunqiu-Zuozhuan 春秋左傳, Xiaojing 孝經, Mengzi 孟子, Lunyu 論語 , Zhongyong 中庸, Daxue 大學, Erya 爾雅
shiping 史評 historical critique
shishu 史書 "historical materials", copies of the summaries of endorsed memorials (F)
shiwen 誓文 oath (E)
shixuan 詩選 selected poems
shiyi 諡議 citation in relation to posthumous honours to be conferred upon a person of high rank or exceptional merit (E)
shizhuan 史傳 official biography included in a comprehensive history book (E); historiographical writings, lit. "histories and biographies"
shouxu 壽序 composition embodying birthday congratulations (E)
shouzhao 手詔 last edict issued by an emperor before his death or abdication
shu essay (E); memorial (E); letter, dispatch (E); imperial letter, or written by a minister on behalf of the emperor (E)
shu...shi 書…事 account on a particular event or incident (E)
shu comments on a book, added at the end (E); memorial, itemized report (E)
shu 述, shuyi 述義, shuwen 述聞 introduction to a book (written by another hand) (E); comments on a book, added at the end; biographical notes (E); narration (E)
shudu 書牘 letters (E)
shuhou 書後 comments on a book, added as a colophon (E)
shuo essay, monograph (E), "persuasion"; composition presented on a special occasion (E)
shupin 書品 books of qualitative ranking of calligraphies
shuping 書評 appraisement, critique
shuyi 疏議 memorial
shuzan 述贊 evaluation, appreciation
shuzha 書札 (書劄) letter (E)
silun 絲綸 imperial utterances (F)
sibu 四部 the Four Categories of traditional literature
sishu 四書 The Four Books, part of the Confucian Classics: Mengzi 孟子, Lunyu 論語 , Zhongyong 中庸, Daxue 大學
song tribute, eulogy, congratulatory composition (E); hymn or ode of the Shijing 詩經
songzan 頌贊 eulogies (E)
suishi 歲時 edicts concerned with the seasons and related agricultural work
suwen 俗文 inscription or text at least partially written in vernacular language, in mixed prose-poetry style (E)
T [top]
taige ti 臺閣體 ministerial style of Ming period prose
tahuang 搨黃 printed copies of imperial utterances (F)
taitou 抬頭 (檯頭) elevation of characters above the headline of the page face, for expressions related to the emperor (F)
tandao wen 歎道文 Daoist lament on the death of an emperor (E)
tangbao 塘報 Beijing gazette (F)
tanshi 彈事, tanwen 彈文, tanzhang 彈章 accusation (E)
tenghuang 謄黃 copies of imperial utterances (F)
ti record, inscription or address used by way of dedication (E)
ti-ba 題跋 record, inscription or address used by way of dedication (E); preface and postface, foreword and afterword
tiben 題本 routine memorial on civilian affairs, with seal of the memorialist; submitted to the Transmission Office (tongzhengsi 通政司) or the Grand Secretariat (neige 內閣), which also considers and proposes action, and answered by an imperial rescript, endorsement, or an edict (F)
tici 題詞 summary of the theme of a book, critique written as an introduction (E)
tie 帖 (貼) letter, note (E); copy of the writing of famous calligraphists
tiehuang 貼黃 summary attached to a memorial (F)
tiejuan wen 鐵券文 a writing on a metal token (E), iron certificates
tihou 題後 outline of the main theme of a book (E)
timing 題名 names and other information engraved on the reverse of a tablet or monument (E)
tingji 廷寄 (secret) court letter (F), secret decree
tizou 題奏 general term for memorials (F)
tongben 通本 routine memorial compiled by the provincial administration and forwarded by the Transmission Office (tongzengsi 通政司) (F)
tongshi 通史 universal history covering several or "all" dynasties, or all reigns of one dynasty
W [top]
waizhe 外摺 memorial from the provinces (F)
waizhuan 外傳 unofficial biography (E)
wanyue ci 婉約詞 "delicate restraint", a subgenre of lyric-metre-style poetry (ci 詞)
wei heterodox writings, apocryphal text
wenji 文集 collected prose writings
weishi 偽史 history of "illegal" states in China
wen prose writings; literature in general
wenping 文評 appraisement, critique
wenxuan 文選 selected prose writings; the anthology Wenxuan 文選
wenyan 文言 classical language basing on pre-Han and Han time Chinese, official language for documents until early Republican period, and to a certain extant also for modern written Chinese
wenyi 文移 official letter or dispatch between equals
wujing 五經 The Five Confucian Classics: Yijing 易經, Shangshu 尚書, Shijing 詩經, Liji 禮記, Chunqiu-Zuozhuan 春秋左傳
X [top]
xi 檄, xiwen 檄文 dispatch, summons, warning proclamation, call-to-arms (E)
xiangbiao 降表 memorial offering obedience or submission (E)
xiangwen 詳文 detailed report addressed to a superior (F)
xiaoling 小令 short form of lyric-metre-style poetry (ci 詞)
xiaoshuo 小說 "novel" or "romance". Chinese scholars discern the two types of short novels (duanpian xiaoshuo 短篇小説) and the classical long novel books (changpian xiaoshuo 長篇小説)
xiaozhuan 小傳 minor, unofficial biography (E)
xie humour, joke
xie thanksgiving for blessings received (E)
xiebiao 謝表 dispatch to a superior, offering thanks (E)
xing allegory, atmospherical introduction
xingshu 行述 "descriptions of conduct", biographical notes (E)
xingzhuang 行狀 biographical notice, appreciation, conduct descriptions (E)
xishu 璽書 imperial letter (xi 璽 = imperial seal) (E)
xu 序 (敘, 敍) 1) preface, foreword, explaining the reason for writing the book, excuses to its defects or praise of its merits, setting forth the writer's view on the theme (E);
2) composition presented at parting (E);
3) detailed record (E)
xuba 序跋 prefaces and colophons (E)
xue'an 學案, xue'anti 學案體 philosophical genealogies
xulu 序錄 (敘錄, 敍錄) abstract of a book or comments added after reading (E)
xulüe 序略 preface (E)
xulun 續論 supplementary essay (E)
xun exhortation, precept, instruction, counsel (E)
xun 訓, xunling 訓令 exhortation, precept, instruction, counsel, order, directive
xun 訓諭 instructions and edicts (F)
Y [top]
ya congratulatory composition (E); ode (of the Shijing 詩經)
yan allegory, parable (E)
yanwen 驗文 detailed appendixes attached to documents submitted to a superior
yaoyan 謠諺 ballads and sayings
yi 移, yihui 移會, yishu 移書, yiwen 移文, yizi 移咨 official letter or dispatch between equals (E); communication including documents and information (F)
yi interpretation of a theme, "the meaning of..." (E); discussion, critical exposition, "considered opinion on..."
yi discussion, critical exposition (E); deliberations, "examining the rightness of things" (E)
yibiao 遺表, yiben 遺本, yishu 遺疏, yizhe 遺摺 valedictory memorial from a high official (E)
yiling 遺令, yiming 遺命 valedictory charge (E)
yin introduction, preface (E); composition presented at parting (E)
yin enigma, riddle
yinpu 印譜 seal catalogue
yishi 遺詩 posthumously published poems
yiwen 移文 dispatch, summons, warning proclamation, call-to-arms
yiwen 遺文 posthumously published writings
yiwen 佚文, 遺文 fragments of lost books
yiwen 逸文 lost books, lost writings
yizhao 遺詔 valedictory edict (E)
Yongming ti 永明體 poetry style of the Yongming reign-period
yongwu ci 詠物詞 symbolistic subgenre of lyric-metre-style poetry (ci 詞)
youzhao 優詔 last edict issued by an emperor before his death or abdication (E)
yu 諭, yuzhi 諭旨 injunction, proclamation, might be issued by a minister (E); edict, written in answer to a memorial (F)
yu narrative, allegory, tale (E)
yu parable, lesson from... (E)
yudie 玉牒, yudie wen 玉牒文 jade-table composition communicating the emperor's desires to Heaven (E); imperial genealogy (F)
yue agreement, contract, bond, treaty, like xiangyue 鄉約 (E)
yuji wen 諭祭文 composition for use at a sacrifice ordered by the emperor for a deceased minister (E)
yuan analysis of..., like in Yuandao 原道 (E)
yuanwen 願文 petition with a vow for conditional on the granting of the petition (E)
yuefu 樂府 allegedly poems from among the people, colleted by the Han period Bureau of Music, written in an elegic style and popular into the Tang period
yueyu 樂語 composition for use at a banquet (E)
yupi 御批 imperial endorsement on a memorial (F)
yuyan 寓言 allegory, parable
yuzha 御札 (御劄) imperial letter, orders to officials (E)
Z [top]
zaiji 載記 regional history or history of autonomous states (inside China)
zaji 雜記 miscellaneous records (E)
zaming 雜銘 miscellaneous private inscriptions, often dedicated to persons not holding an official position (E)
zan panegyric, eulogy, encomion (E); pronouncement
zanxiang wen 贊饗文 eulogy for use at a sacrifice (E)
zashi 雜史 "miscellaneous" private records of historical events (E), often focusing on one theme instead of a full age
zazhi 雜誌 miscellaneous private obituary compositions, often dedicated to females or inferior household members (E); today: journal, magazine
zazi 雜字 "mixed words", terms for primers or textbooks of primary education
zengxu 贈序 compositions presented at parting (E)
zha 札 (扎 , 劄) letter (E); order from a superior to a subordinate (F)
zhafu 劄付 order from provincial administration commissioners to prefects and magistrates (F)
zhaici 齋詞, zhaiwen 齋文 composition appropriate to Buddhist abstentions (E)
zhang 1) memorial, one of the four types of address to the throne in use during the Han period (章, 奏, 表, and 駁議) (E)
2) paragraph
zhangju 章句 paragraph-and-sentence [commentary]
zhangzou 章奏 routine memorial submitted by one of the Six Ministries (F)
zhao edict, decree, emanating from the throne, authorship not indicated (E); proclamation, mandate, announcement to the people (F)
zhaofu 照覆 (照復) communication in reply, answer to zhaohui (F)
zhaogao 詔誥 proclamations and ordinances (F)
zhaohuang 詔黃 copy of an imperial utterance written on yellow paper, yellow bill bearing a proclamation (F)
zhaohui 照會 communication addressed to an official slightly inferior in rank (F)
zhaoling 詔令 edicts and orders (E)
zhazi 札子 (劄子) memorial, detailed report to the throne (E); official letter (E)
zhe 摺, zhezou 摺奏 memorial (E)
zheben 折本 memorial (F)
zhen 箴, zhenming 箴銘 (inscribed) admonition, warning, precept, exhortation (E)
zhengshi 正史 official dynastic history
zhi 旨 (指) outline, essentials of, the gist of, like in yaozhi 要旨 or 要指 (E); rescript, lengthier answer to a memorial, imperial decree in answer to a specific memorial, and written in red on the original, unlike yu 諭, which is a separate document (F)
zhi 制, zhici 制辭, zhishu 制書 edict (E); imperial decree (F)
zhi 志, 誌 anecdote, chronicle, accounts of particular incidents of a trivial character (E)
zhiguai 志怪 "reports of strange events", a kind of story or proto-novel very popular in each type of literature and through the ages
zhihui 知會 communication, information in correspondence between government offices (F)
zhihui 指揮 (military) order (F)
zhiling 指令 order, directive decreed upon request of subordinated institutions
zhiyu 致語, zhici 致詞 songs of felicitation (E)
zhu 祝, zhuwen 祝文, zhuban wen 祝版文, zhuxiang wen 祝香文 invocation, praise, sacrificial prayer (E)
zhu 註, 注 commentary
zhuan biography (E)
zhuanzhuang 傳狀 biographies and biographical notices (E)
zhuang statement submitted to the throne, memorial, with indictments, protest against extravagance, or address of congratulation, etc. (E); official dispatch (E)
zhuanzhuang 傳狀 biographies and biographical notices
zhujian 竹簡 texts written on bamboo slips
zhupi 硃批 (朱批), zhubi 硃筆 vermillion endorsement, vermillion rescript (F) by central-government clerks or by the emperor
zhuxia wen 祝碬辭 prayer for use in the imperial temple
zhuyu 硃諭 copies of imperial utterances, written in vermillion on yellow paper (F)
zhuzhi ci 竹枝詞 a lyric-metre poetry pattern
zhuzi 諸子 see baijia 百家
zi 咨, zihui 咨會, ziwen 咨文, zixing 咨行 notice exchanged between institutions of the same jurisdictional level and under the same authority; communication, despatch (F)
zi literary category of "Masters and Philosophers"
zibao 咨報 report from a minister to the Foreign Office (F)
zicheng 咨呈 communication to an official slightly superior in rank (F)
ziji 字寄 court letter, despatch, sent from the Grand Council to the provincial authorities (F)
ziyu 字諭 order to inferiors or commoners; general term for letters (F)
zou 奏, zoushu 奏書, zoushu 奏疏, zouben 奏本, zouzhe 奏摺 memorial (E); zoushu is a general term; zouben were memorials to the throne; zouzhe were confidential memorials on important state matters or personal matters, not bearing the memorialist's seal, submitted to the Chancery of Memorials (zoushichu 奏事處), considered by the emperor, action proposed by the Grand Council, and answered in the shape of a rescript, an endorsement, or edict (F)
zouji 奏記 official letter to a superior in rank, note of presentation (E)
zoupian 奏片 minute, short memorial (F)
zouyi 奏議 memorials (E)
zouzha 奏劄 memorial, detailed report to the throne
(E) Edwards, E. D. (1948). "A Classified Guide to the Thirteen Classes of Chinese Prose", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 12/3-4: 770-788.
(F) Fairbank, John King, Ssu Yu Teng (1940). "On the Types and Uses of Ch'ing Documents", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 5: 1–71.
Lee Kuo-chi (1970). "Bemerkungen zum Ch'ing-Dokumentenstil: Eingaben an den Kaiser (tsou)", Oriens Extremus, 17: 125–135.
Liu Mau-Tsai (1971). "Struktur und Terminologie chinesischer Schriftstucke im Behordenverkehr", Nachrichten der Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens, 109: 5–46.