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Qidan guo zhi 契丹國志

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Qidan guo zhi 契丹國志 "Records of the Kitan empire" is an unofficial history of the Liao dynasty 遼 (907-1125) and its founding people, the Kitans. The 27-juan long book is attributed to Ye Longli 葉隆禮 (jinshi degree 1247), courtesy name Shize 士則, style Yucun 漁村.

Modern editions of the Qidan guo zhi include a memorial to the throne indicating that the book was submitted to the throne in 1180, which must be an error (Chunxi reign-period 淳熙 instead of Xianchun reign-period 咸淳). The book originates from documents preserved at the court of the Song dynasty 宋 (960-1279) in the south, it is thus a compilation by a "foreign" dynasty and not a history of the Liao dynasty written by Liao subjects. The official history of the Liao dynasty, Liaoshi 遼史, was mainly based on the veritable records of the Liao dynasty kept in the imperial archives, while the Qidan guo zhi was based on other primary sources. The book is therefore worth using when studying the Liao period.

The Qidan guo zhi includes a concise report on the origins and the history of the Kitans (Qidan guo chuxing benmo 契丹國初興本末), a time table of the nine emperors of the Liao dynasty (Qidan guo jiuzhu nianpu 契丹國九主年譜), and tables on the occupation of the most important Kitan and Chinese posts in the dual administration of the Liao government (Fanjiang chushou zhiming 蕃將除授職名 and Hanguan chushou zhiming 漢官除授職名). Although the Qidan guo zhi does not exclusively rely on the official veritable records, it includes some important archival documents, like the declaration of the submission of the Later Jin dynasty 後晉 (936-946, Shi-Jin jiang biao 石晉降表), the treaty of Chanyuan (Chanyuan shi shu 澶淵誓書), the treaty of Guannan (Guannan shi shu 關南誓書), and treatises on the border between the Liao and the Song empires (Yige dijie 議割地界). It also includes lists of the tributes the Song dynasty and other rulers presented to the Liao court, as well as information on the four capitals and the local administration, the customs and habits of the Kitans, and statements about the embassies of the Song court to the Liao.

The most important editions of the Qidan guo zhi are those of the Cheng'en Hall 承恩堂, the Saoye Shanfang Studio 掃葉山房 and the series Guoxue wenku 國學文庫. In 1985, the Shanghai guji press 上海古籍出版社 published a puncutated edition, based on a Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) print.

There is a translation into German based on the Manchurian translation, H. Conon von der Gabelentz (1877), Geschichte der großen Liao aus dem Mandschu übersetzt (St. Petersburg: Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften).

Sources:
Chen Shu 陳述 (1992). "Qidan guo zhi 契丹國志", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 2, 768.
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), 1565.
Jing Yi 經易 (1994). "Qidan guo zhi 契丹國志", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Lishi 歷史卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 228.
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, 1977.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhonggou guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 593.