An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Shitong huiyao 史通會要

Feb 10, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald

Shitong huiyao 史通會要 are critical comments to Liu Zhiji's 劉知幾 book Shitong 史通, a theory of historiography from the Tang period 唐 (618-907). The 3-juan long Shitong huiyao was written by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Lu Shen 陸深 (1477-1544), original name Lu Rong 陸榮, courtesy name Ziyuan 子淵, style Yanshan 儼山.

Lu hailed from Shanghai and obtained his jinshi degree in 1505. He first served as bachelor (shujishi 庶吉士) of the Hanlin Academy 翰林院, later junior compiler (bianxiu 編修), and eventualy Libationer of the Directorate of Education (guozijian jijiu 國子監祭酒). He was then transferred to the post of Left Administration Commissioner (zuo buzhengshi 左布政使) of the province of Sichuan. In 1537 he rose to the post of Minister of the Court of Imperial Sacrifices (taichangqing 太常卿) in combination with the function of academician reader-in-waiting (shidu xueshi 侍讀學士). During the southern inspection tour of Emperor Shizong 明世宗 (r. 1521-1566) he was Seal Holder of the Hanlin Academy (zhang xingzai Hanlinyuan yin 掌行在翰林院印), and the promoted to Director of the Household of the Heir Apparent (zhanshifu zhanshi 詹事府詹事).

Lu Shen was thus a person familiar with a wide range of posts in the central and provincial administration. He was also a hobby calligrapher inspired by the styles of Yan Zhenqing 顏真卿 (709-785), Li Yong 李邕 (678-747) and Zhao Mengfu 趙孟頫 (1254-1322). In his books Lu Shen books tried to keep to the language of "classical" writings. They are therefore of high literary standing. The most important ones are – apart from the Shitong huiyao - Nanxun rilu 南巡日錄, Kechang tiaoguan 科場條貫 and Chunyutang zachao 春雨堂雜抄. His collected writings are called Yanshan ji 儼山集 and Yanshan waiji 儼山外集.

Lu Shen believed that Liu Zhiji's Shitong included a great deal of erroneous statements. In his commentary he corrected these, based on the sources Liu had made use of. Lu Shen also adds some information not provided in the Shitong, particularly in the chapters Qubi 曲筆 and Jianshi 鑒識. The Shitong huiyao also includes in an appendix some discussions on the Shitong by historians of later ages, as well as Lu Shen's own interpretation of the patterns and modes of writing history.

The Shitong huiyao is recorded in the descriptive catalogue Siku quanshshu zongmu tiyao 四庫全書總目提要. The text can be found in the collection Yanshan waiji.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 1516.
Wang Jiachuan 王嘉川 (2014). "Lu Shen Shitong huiyao zhi Liu Zhiji zhi jinghua ma 陸深《史通會要》“摭劉知幾之精華”嗎?", Qi-Lu xuekan 齊魯學刊, 2014 (5).