An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Yuanshu 元書

Mar 11, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Yuanshu 元書 "Book of the Yuan dynasty" is a history of the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) compiled by the late Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) historian Zeng Lian 曾廉 (1857-?).

The 102-juan long book was an early attempt at a revision of the official dynastic history of the Yuan, the Yuanshi 元史. Zeng Lian made use of the book Yuanshi xinbian 元史新編 by Wei Yuan 魏源 (1794-1857). In a rather traditional way of historiography, Zeng Lian tried to interprete the history of the Mongolian Yuan dynasty in a moral way and to point out right and wrong decisions of the policy makers.

His book includes 15 juan of imperial biographies (benji 本紀), 10 juan of treatises (zhi 志), and 77 juan of normal and collective biographies (liezhuan 列傳), including a preface by the author. Zeng Lian had used older books as sources, including the Yuanchao mishi 元朝秘史, Xu zizhi tongjian changbian 續資治通鑑長編, Liaoshi 遼史, Jinshi 金史, as well as private writings of numerous authors. The historiographical value of the Yuanshu is rated as not very high because Zeng Liang did not understand to make a proper use of the sources available to him.

The Yuanshu was printed in 1910 by the Cengyi Studio 層漪堂.

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), 224.
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. 1, 934.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 69.