CHINAKNOWLEDGE - a universal guide for China studies | HOME | About
Encoding: Unicode (UTF-8) [Location: HOME > Literature > Historiographical category > Political books > Tang huiyao]

Chinese Literature
Tang huiyao 唐會要 "Institutional History of the Tang Dynasty"

The Tang huiyao 唐會要 "Institutional history of the Tang dynasty" is a collection of statutes of statecraft from the Tang dynasty 唐 (618-907). It consists of 100 juan "scrolls" and was written by the Northern Song 北宋 (960-1126) scholar Wang Pu 王溥 who had been counselor-in-chief under the Later Zhou dynasty 後周 (951-960). His book Tang huiyao follows the model of the Tang period book Tongdian 通典 by Du You 杜佑 which is a universal history of the administrative structure and government institutions from ancient times to the Tang. Wang Bo on his side did not write a description of such institutions but a collection providing quotations from primary sources. There were some precursors to the Tang huiyao, namely Su Mian's 蘇冕 Huiyao 會要 in 40 juan, and Cui Xuan's 崔鉉 supplement Xu huiyao 續會要, an actualization of Su Mian's book, also in 40 juan. Both books were compiled during the Tang period and were thus virtually codes presenting contemporary material. Wang Bo, as a historian, used additional material from the late decades of the Tang period, and compiled the Tang huiyao which he submitted to the throne in 961. It is very valuable because it provides a lot of material not contained in Du You's Tongdian nor in the two official dynastic histories Jiutangshu 舊唐書 and Xintangshu 新唐書, for example the imperial diaries (qijuzhu 起居注) of the Tang emperors and the veritable records (shilu 實錄). Concering the time period of the first half of the Tang the material used in the Tang huiyao is quite abundant because Wang Bo used the earlier books of Su Mian and Cui Xuan. Topics from the last third of the Tang period are a little bit less well documented because a lot of primary material was already lost in the mid-10th century. It is interesting to see that sources citing from the Tang huiyao, like the encyclopedia Yuhai 玉海 or the book Shantang kaosuo 山堂考索 quote differently than the received Tang huiyao, probably because these books in fact quote Su Mian's book and not the Tang huiyao. Wang Bo had, as can be seen from this, not simply copied the older Huiyao texts but had changed them.
There were only handwritten copies of the Tang huiyao until the 18th century. When it was included into the imperial collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書 the Tang huiyao was or the first time printed. At that time four chapters were missing (7-10) which had to be reconstruced from other sources.

Source: Zhang Zexian 張澤咸 (1992). "Tang huiyao 唐會要", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史, vol. 2, p. 1125. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.

The oldest book with the title Huiyao 會要 was compiled by the Western Jin period 西晉 (265-316) scholar Lu Ji 陸機. It was one 1 juan "scroll" long and is recorded in the imperial bibliography of the official dynastic history Xintangshu 新唐書. It is lost.
There was another political encyclopedia called Huiyao 會要 compiled by the Tang period 唐 (618-907) scholar Su Mian 蘇冕. It was 40 juan "scrolls" long. The Huiyao is lost, but listed in the imperial bibliographies of the official dynastic histories Xintangshu 新唐書 and Songshi 宋史.
A supplement called Xu huiyao 續會要 was written by a team of officials under the guidance of Cui Xuan 崔鉉 during the Tang period. It was 40 juan "scrolls" long. The Xu huiyao is lost, but listed in the imperial bibliography of the official dynastic histories Xintangshu and is mentioned in the Songshi. The latter also includes the following huiyao-style books:
宋六朝會要 Song liuchao huiyao, 300 juan, by Zhang Dexiang 章得象, Wang Gui 王珪續
續會要 Xu huiyao, 300 juan, by Yu Yunwen 虞允文 et al.
中興會要 Zhongxing huiyao, 200 juan, by Liang Kejia 梁克家 et al.
孝宗會要 Xiaozong huiyao, 200 juan, by Yang Ji 楊濟 and Zhong Biwan 鐘必萬
光宗會要 Guangzong huiyao, 100 juan
寧宗會要 Ningzong huiyao, 150 juan, submitted by the Palace Library 秘書省
國朝會要 Guochao huiyao, 588 juan, by Zhang Congzu 張從祖
續唐會要 Xu huiyao, 100 juan, by Wang Pu 王溥
五代會要 Wudai huiyao, 30 juan
These books seem to be official compilations describing the administrative apparatus of the actual reigns.

Tuotuo 脫脫 et al. Songshi 宋史, 202-209 (Yiwen zhi 藝文 1-8). [Zhonghua shuju edition.]
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤 (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書, pp. 7, 66. Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe.

The style of the huiyao "institutional history" was so useful that not only Wang Pu compiled other books of this types. For virtually each dynasty similar institutional histories were written. The terms huiyao was also used for excerpts from important books.
  • Tang huiyao 唐會要, by Wang Pu 王溥 (Song)
  • Wudai huiyao 五代會要, by Wang Pu 王溥 (Song)
  • Xihan huiyao 西漢會要, by Xu Tianlin 徐天麟 (Xu Mengxin 徐夢莘; Song)
  • Donghan huiyao 東漢會要, by Xu Tianlin 徐天麟 (Song)
  • Song huiyao jigao 宋會要輯稿, by Wang Yunhai 王雲海 (late Qing)
  • Qin huiyao dingbu 秦會要訂補, by Sun Kai 孫楷 and Xu Fu 徐復 (Qing)
  • Gaoben Jin huiyao 稿本晉會要, by Wang Zhaoyong 汪兆鏞 (Qing)
  • Sanguo huiyao 三國會要, by Qian Yiji 錢儀吉 (Qing)
  • Ming huiyao 明會要, by Long Wenbin 龍文彬 (late Qing)

  • Shitong huiyao 史通會要, by Lu Shen 陸深 (Ming), excerpts from Liu Zhiji's historiographical critique Shitong
  • Zhouli huiyao 周禮會要, by Wang Wenqing 王文清 (18th cent.), excerpts from the Confucian classic Zhouli
  • Tongjian huibian 通鑑會編 , by Ye Yun 葉沄 (18th cent.), excerpts from the Zizhi tongjian

1-2 Designations for emperors
3 Empresses
4-5 Princes
6 Princesses
7 Fengshan offerings
8-10 State offerings and rituals
11-13 The Bright Hall rituals
13-19 Various religious rituals
20-21 Rituals for the imperial mausolea
22-23 Offerings to the local earth altars and other altars (praying for rain, the stars, mountains, rivers and the rulers of former dynasties)
24-25 Procedurals in court audiences
26 Daily procedures; rituals for the heir apparent
27 Imperial tours
28 Hunting
28-29 Auspicious days
30 Palaces
31-32 Chariots and robes
32-34 Music
35-37 Schools and education
37-38 State rituals, court robes
39 Justice
40-41 The conduct of ruler and minister
42-44 Astronomy and astrology
45-46 Rewards for ministers rendering outstanding service
46-47 Enfeoffment
48-49 Regulations concerning Buddhist monasteries and Nestorian and Manichean churches
50 Regulations concerning Daoism
51-55 Officials in the central government
56 The imperial diary and archivists
57 Hanlin Academy and the Imperial secretariat
58-59 Ministries and directorates under the ministries
60-62 Censorate
63-64 Historiographical office
65-67 Various offices and bureaus of the central government
68-72 Provincial and local governments
72 Military adminstration
73 Protectorates
74-77 Selection and appointment of candidates
77-79 Various commissionaries
79-80 Posthumous titles
81-82 Appointment of state offices
83-84 Field tax and other taxes and levies
85 Household registrations
86 Slavery, traffic and commerce
87 Grain transport
88 State monopolies on salt and iron; state granaries
89 Official workshops
90 Tribute rice and official salaries
91-93 Salaries and income of state officials
94-100 Foreign countries
1. 帝系 Dixi Emperors
2. 后妃 Houfei Empresses and their clans
3. 樂 Yue Ritual music
4. 禮 Li Rituals
5. 儀制 Yizhi The system of courtly etiquette
6. 瑞異 Ruiyi Portents and omina
7. 運歷 Yunli Calendar and astronomy
8. 崇儒 Chongru The venerated scholars
9. 職官 Zhiguan Government offices
10. 選舉 Xuanju State examinations and promotion
11. 食貨 Shihuo Food and commerce
12. 刑法 Xingfa Penal law
13. 兵 Bing The military
14. 方域 Fangyu Administrative geography
15. 蕃夷 Fanyi Barbarians
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

3 July, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail