An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Ji Yun 紀昀

May 6, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Ji Yun 紀昀 (1724-1805), courtesy name Xiaolan 曉嵐 or Chunfan 春帆, style Shiyun 石雲, was a mid-Qing period 清 (1644-1911) politician, writer and editor. He hailed from Xianxian 獻縣, Hebei and earned the jinshi degree in 1754. He was appointed to the post of provincial, then metropolitan examiner (kaoguan 考官) and climbed up the ladder of career to the post of Minister of Rites (libu shangshu 禮部尚書) and was appointed Grand Academician (daxueshi 大學士) and Grand Guardian of the Heir Apparent (taizi taibao 太子太保). His posthumous title is Wendagong 文達公 the "Cultivated-Accomplished".

Ji Yun had profound knowledge of all various types of writings and took therefore part in the compilation of the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書. He was the chief editor of the annotated bibliography of this series, the Siku quanshu zongmu tiyao 四庫全書總目提要. In this position he guided a staff of no less than 160 important scholars that combed through all official and private libraries to pick out interesting and important texts, part of which was incorporated into the collection, while other books were discarded or even prohibited for further circulation because of political reasons. Writings of contemporarian writers like Zhu Yun 朱筠 (1729-1781), Shao Jinhan 邵晉涵 (1743-1796), Dai Zhen 戴震 (1723-1777), Jin Bang 金榜 (1735-1801) or Wang Niansun 王念孫 (1744-1832) found their way directly into the Siku quanshu, while many older books had to be reconstructed, for instance, from the surviving parts of the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) encyclopaedia Yongle dadian 永樂大典. In the Zongmu tiyao, Ji Yun explained the history of the transmission of each book and its importance for the whole corpus of Chinese literature.

Ji Yun also wrote some own prose and poetry texts, such as the Yueweicaotang biji 閱微草堂筆記, the Daishi kaogongji tuxu 戴氏考工記圖序, Lidai zhiguan biao 歷代職官表, or Ji Wenda Gong yiji 紀文達公遺集.

Pang Pu 龐樸, ed. (1997). Zhongguo ruxue 中國儒學 (Shanghai: Dongfang chuban zhongxin), Vol. 2, 235.