An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Guochao xianzheng shilüe 國朝先正事略

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Guochao xianzheng shilüe 國朝先正事略

Guochao xianzheng shilüe 國朝先正事略 "Short notions on former examples from Our Dynasty" is a collection of biographies of persons from the Qing period 清 (1644-1911). It has a size of 60 juan and was written by Li Yuandu 李元度 ((1821-1887), courtesy name Ciqing 次青 or Huting 笏庭, style Tianque Shanqiao 天岳山樵 or Shaoran Laoren 超然老人, between 1864 and 1866.

The book is an anthology of biographies of 500 important people of the Qing period. In an appendix, Li gives short notes to 608 more persons. Li's source material contained literary sources, local gazetteers and official biographies. The biographies are arranged in seven categories.

A sequel called Guochao xianzheng shilüe bubian 國朝先正事略補編, with a length of 2 juan, and also compiled by Li Yuandu, was published as a kind of appendix.

The collection was printed during the 1860s. It is part of the series Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書.

Guochao xianzheng shilüe xubian 國朝先正事略續編

Zhu Kongzhang 朱孔彰 (1842-1919), courtesy name Zhongwo 仲我, original name Kong Zhang 孔彰, courtesy name Zhongwu 仲武, style Shenghe Laoren 聖和老人, compiled a sequel to the collection which is called Guochao xianzheng shilüe xubian 國朝先正事略續編, but also known with the titles Zhongxing jiangshuai biezhuan 中興將帥別傳 "Separate biographies of military commanders of the Restoration Period", Xianfeng yilai gongchen biezhuan 咸豐以來功臣別傳 "Separate biographies of meritorious officials since the Fengxian reign-period (1851-1861)", or Zhongxing mingchen shilüe 中興名臣事略 "Short notions of famous officials of the Restoration Period". It has a length of 30 juan (plus 6 juan in an appendix) and includes persons mainly from the Xianfeng reign-period.

Zhu belonged to the general staff of Zeng Guofan 曾國藩 (1811-1872), who reformed the traditional army of Qing China and created the modern Hunan Army 湘軍. Zhu Kongzhang therefore focused on the biographies of great military leaders like Zeng Guofan, Hu Linyi 胡林翼 (1812-1861), Zuo Zongtang 左宗棠 (1812-1885), Zeng Guoquan 曾國荃 (1824-1890, a brother of Zeng Guofan), Senggerinčen 僧格林沁 (1811-1865), Ulantai 烏蘭泰 (d. 1852) or Luo Bingzhang 駱秉章 (1793-1867). The focus was on participants of the war against the Taiping rebellion, the Nian rebellion 捻 and the wars against the many uprisings in northwest and southwest China during the mid-19th century. For this reason, the collection also included Western persons, like Frederick Townsend Ward (Hua'er 華爾, 1831-1862), Albert-Édouard Le Brethon de Caligny (Leboledong 勒伯勒東, 1833-1863), or Charles George Gordon (Gedeng 弋登, 1833-1885), all of them members of the Ever-Victorious Army.

The supplementary collection includes the biographies of more than 130 persons, each of which is briefly assessed in a short critique at the end of the biography. The appendix (itself called Xuzhuan) includes the biographies of 14 persons from the staff of Li Hongzhang 李鴻章 (1823-1901). The collection was published in 1898 as part of the series Jianxuelu congshu 漸學廬叢書, compiled by Hu Xiangrong 胡祥鑅.

Table 1. Contents of the Guochao xianzheng shilüe 國朝先正事略
1.-26. 名臣 Mingchen Eminent officials
27.-31. 名儒 Mingru Famous Confucians
32.-36. 經學 Jingxue Scholarship
37.-44. 文苑 Wenyuan The garden of literati
45.-48. 遺逸 Yiyi Scholars in retirement
49.-54. 循良 Xun-liang Cruel and benevolent persons
55.-60. 孝義 Xiaoyi Persons displaying filial piety
Gao Wende 高文德, ed. (1995). Zhongguo shaoshu minzu shi da cidian 中國少數民族史大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin jiaoyu chubanshe), 1430.
Guo Songyi 郭松義 (1992). "Guochao xianzheng shilüe 國朝先正事略", 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.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 516.