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Lushi 路史

Apr 28, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Lushi 路史 "Stories from the provinces" is a short miscellaneous history of the early Ming period 明 (1368-1644) written by Xu Wei 徐渭 (1521-1593), courtesy name Wenzhang 文長, style Qingteng Laoren 青藤老人, Qingteng Daoshi 青藤道士, and many more. Xu Wei served as a military official in the region of Fujian and Zhejiang as a secretary (sheren 舍人) of grand coordinator (zongdu 總督) Hu Yongxian 胡宗憲 (1512-1565). When his master was sentenced to jail Xu became mad and killed his own wife. The rest of his life, he passed as a wanderer between the two capitals of the Ming empire. Xu was famous for his mastering of poetry and calligraphy. He was interested in theatre plays and compiled the books Sishengyuan 四聲猿, Nanci xulu 南詞叙錄, Tianchi miji 天池秘集 and Lushi. His collected works are called Xu Wenchang ji 徐文長集.

The 2-juan long Lushi is a collection of stories from the encyclopaedia Shiwen leiju 事文類聚, the rhyme dictionary Hongwu zhengyun 洪武正韻 and the book Shiqishi xiangjie 十七史詳節, comments on the official dynastic histories.

In his book, Xu Wei provides an analysis of selected objects of native places, like such about pine resin and soot from Koryŏ 高麗, the wine and rabbit hair for brushed from Zhongshan, or tools to keep food cold. He demonstrates that general beliefs about such matters were often wrong, and found out the correct historical background. The book is, although being of a very miscellaneous character, classified as a alternative history.

There is a Ming-period print now stored in the Beijing Library 北京圖書館. In 1982, the Zhonghua Book Company 中華書局 published a modern edition of Xu Wei's collected works, Xu Wei ji 徐渭集. The Lushi is included in the imperial reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Sources:
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (ed. 1996), Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, p. 1977.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhonggou guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 888.
Zheng Yunbo 鄭雲波, ed. (1992). Zhongguo gudai xiaoshuo cidian 中國古代小說辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 466.