An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Guochao qixian leizheng 國朝耆獻類徵

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Guochao qixian leizheng 國朝耆獻類徵 "[Biographies of] the honoured [subjects] of Our Dynasty, arranged topically" is a collection of biographies of persons of the Qing period 清 (1644-1911). It is 720-juan long and was compiled by Li Huan 李桓 and published in 1883.

It includes personalities of the highest political offices in the central government, but also average people who became remarkable by their extraordinary behaviour. The time frame ranges from 1616 to 1850. The book is introduced by a 12-juan long listing important members of the imperial house, with tables and biography (Zongshi wanggong gongji biaozhuan 宗室王公功績表傳), and 192 juan of biographies of eminent Mongols and persons from other foreign ethnics under the suzerainity of the Qing empire honoured with a hereditary title of nobility, plus a supplement (Waifan Menggu sibu wanggong biaozhuan 外藩蒙古四部王公表傳).

The biographies are arranged according to personal status. Biographies of persons who were granted an official biography by the Historiographic Insitute (guoshiguan 國史館) come first, and are followed by those of other persons which quote from private sources or tomb stone inscriptions (beiming 碑銘).

In 1891, a supplement in 12 juan was added with the title of Guochao xianyuan leizheng 國朝賢媛類徵. Both parts, the main Leizheng as well as the supplement, were planned as first series that could later be extended, and therefore originally bare the subtitle of chubian 初編 "first series". In 1990 the Jiangsu Guangling Guji Press 江蘇廣陵古籍刻印社 republished the Guochao qixian leizheng. It includes a person index arranged according to the first names, which is very rare and cumbersome, but understandable for a book containing such a high amount of persons of which many bare the same surname.

Figure 1. Example of the index of persons of the 1990 edition of the Guochao qixian leizheng 國朝耆獻類徵
Example of the phonetic index from the Guochao qixian leizheng 國朝耆獻類徵. The example shows personal names ending with the word nian 年. The word nian belongs to the (first) rhyme group xian 先. The names of the persons are Heng Nian 恆年, Xu Yingnian 許應年, Henian 鶴年 (not a Chinese), Shen Danian 申大年, Wang Younian 王有年, etc. (from right to left). The small characters below the names indicate the chapter and the number of the fascicle or the biography to which that of the particular person is attached (as is the case for Heng Nian, whose biography is attached to or who is mentioned in that of Tong Guoyin 佟國印).

The term qixian 耆獻 might be read as qi xian "an old man presents", or as zhixian "effectfully presented".

Table 1. Contents of the Guochao qixian leizheng 國朝耆獻類徵
1. 宰輔 Zaifu Counsellors-in-Chief (chief ministers)
2. 卿貳 Qingni Second-rank officials of the central government
3. 詞臣 Cichen Officials disputing (advisors)
4. 諫臣 Jianchen Officials remonstrating
5. 郎署 Langshu Members of the imperial court
6. 疆臣 Jiangchen Governors-general and governors
7. 監司 Jiansi Provincial intendants
8. 守令 Shouling Magistrates
9. 僚佐 Liaozuo Petty officials
10. 將帥 Jiangshuai Military commanders
11. 材武 Caiwu Persons displaying martial spirit
12. 忠義 Zhongyi Persons displaying loyalty
13. 孝友 Xiaoyou Persons displaying filial piety
14. 儒行 Ruxing Persons displaying Confucian conduct
15. 經學 Jingxue Scholars
16. 文藝 Wenyi Literati
17. 卓行 Zhuoxing Persons of outstanding character
18. 隱逸 Yinyi Scholars or worthies living in seclusion
19. 方伎 Fangji Magicians and diviners
Guo Songyi 郭松義 (1992). "Guochao qixian leizheng chubian 國朝耆獻類徵初編", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Part Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 281.