CHINAKNOWLEDGE - a universal guide for China studies | HOME | About
Encoding: Unicode (UTF-8) [Location: HOME > Literature > Masters and Philosophers > Novels and stories > Taiping guangji]

Chinese Literature
Taiping guangji 太平廣記 "Extensive Records of the Taiping Reign"

The Taiping guangji 太平廣記 "Extensive records of the Taiping [xingguo] reign (976-983)" is a large collection of supernatural events throughout ancient history. It is one of the so-called "four large books" (Song si da shu 宋四大書) of the Northern Song 北宋 (960-1126). It was compiled on imperial order by Li Fang 李昉, Hu Meng 扈蒙, Li Mu 李穆 and other members of the National University (taixue 太學) during the years 977 and 978. In 981 it was submitted to the throne. It was preserved in the library in the Taiqing Hall 太清樓. The first print was done three years later. The Taiping guangji as a kind of "encyclopedia of the supernatural" is 500 juan "scrolls" long. The more than 7,000 stories, arranged in 92 parts covering 1,500 topics, were taken from unofficial histories, collections of biographies, so-called "brush notes" essays, Buddhist and Daoist writings, and so on, more than 400 books in total, probably as much as 526. A Ming period 明 (1368-1644) index only speaks of 343 books, which is not correct. Unfortunately the indications where the quotations are taken from were of a quite bad quality in the original book and had to be amended.
The different stories are arranged in 92 topics and 150 chapters. Stories of strange events (zhiguai 志怪, chuanqi 傳奇) occupy the largest part of the Taiping guangji. Traditionally the stories were categorized as "novellas" or "short stories" (xiaoshuo 小説). Indeed a lot of these stories were so widespread that they later found their way into theatre plays and romances, but a lot of them have only survived in the Taiping guangji, like Li Wa zhuan 李娃傳, Liushi zhuan 柳氏傳, Wushuang zhuan 無雙傳, Huo Xiaoyu zhuan 霍小玉傳 or Yingying zhuan 鶯鶯傳. A series of other stories is first mentioned in the Taiping guangji, like Gujingji 古鏡記, Li Zhangwu zhuan 李章武傳, Lihunji 離魂記, Liu Yi zhuan 柳毅傳, Renshi zhuan 任氏傳 or Nanke taishou zhuan 南柯太守傳.
Some texts were copied nearly full, while some others were quoted in a few paragraphs only. Compared with other encyclopedias of that time, the Taiping guangji quotes original texts without abbreviation, which makes it a very reliable source, especially for early popular stories. Many Qing period 清 (1644-1911) reprint series like Gujin shuohai 古今說海, Wuchao xiaoshuo 五朝小說, Shuofu 說郛 or Tangren shuohui 唐人說薈 used the Taiping guangji as a source for individual stories.
The Song period scholar Cai Fan 蔡蕃 created two books of extracts from the Taiping guangji, the Luge shilei 鹿革事類 and Luge wenlei 鹿革文類, both with a length of 30 juan. A similar, but larger, selection of stories was created by the Ming period writer Feng Menglong 馮夢龍 in his Taiping guangji chao 太平廣記鈔.
The oldest prints are only preserved in fragments of very bad quality. A Ming period print from 1566 is preserved which was made by Tan Kai 談愷 based on a manuscript version. The most widespread version is based on Wang Shaoying's 王紹楹 edition from 1926 which was republished in 1956 by the Renmin wenxue press 人民文學出版社 and in 1961 by the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局. In 1996 the Yuelu press 岳麓書社 published another modern edition. The Taiping guangji is also part of the collection Biji xiaoshuo daguan 筆記小說大觀.

Taiping guangji chao 太平廣記鈔

The Taiping guangji chao 太平廣記鈔 is a collection of short stories compiled by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) novelist Feng Menglong 馮夢龍. The short stories are excerpts from the Song period 宋 (960-1279) encyclopedia Taiping guangji. The excerpt is 80 juan "scrolls" long and includes more than 2,500 stories. Feng abridged some stories, eliminated redundant tales and reduced the categories of the 500 juan long original to 29.

Cheng Yizhong 程毅中 (1992). "Taiping guangji 太平廣記", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史, vol. 2, p. 1071. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.
Cheng Yizhong 程毅中 (1986). "Taiping guangji 太平廣記", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學, vol. 2, p. 822. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2175. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤 (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書, pp. 77-79, 290-291. Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe.

1.-55. 神仙 Shenxian Immortals
56.-70. 女仙 Nüxian Female immortals
71.-75. 道術 Daoshu Daoist masters
76.-80. 方士 Fangshi Magicians and diviners
81.-86. 異人 Yiren Extraordinary persons
87.-98. 異僧 Yiseng Extraordinary monks
99.-101. 釋證 Shizheng Buddhist revelations
102.-134. 報應 Baoying Retribution
135.-145. 征應 Zhengying Desired results
146.-160. 定數 Dingshu Destiny (app. 婚姻 Hunyin Matrimony)
161.-162. 感應 Ganying Interaction of deed and result
163. 讖應 Chenying Prophesies and their fulfilment
164. 名賢 Mingxian Famous worthies (app. 諷諫 Fengjian Admonishing remonstrances)
165. 廉儉 Lianjian Incorruptness and simplicity (app. 吝嗇 Linse Stinginess)
166.-168. 氣義 Qiyi Brotherhood and loyalty
169.-170. 知人 Zhiren Learned men
171.-172. 精察 Jingcha Refined and conscious men
173.-174. 俊辯 Junbian Handsome and eloquent men
175. 幼敏 Youmin Young and delicate men
176.-177. 器量 Qiliang Magnanimity
178.-184. 貢舉 Gongju Appointment by recommendation (app. 代族 Daizu Inheritance of posts and titles)
185.-186. 銓選 Quanxuan Selection and appointment
187. 職官 Zhiguan State offices
188. 權倖 Quanxing Minions
189.-190. 將帥 Jiangshuai Commanders (app. 雜譎智 Zajuezhi Miscellaneous swindling and cleverness)
191.-192. 驍勇 Xiaoyong Brave men
193.-196. 豪俠 Haoxia Gallants
197. 博物 Bowu Men of wide knowledge
198.-200. 文章 Wenzhang Writings
201. 才名 Caiming Talent (app. 好尚 Haoshang Esteeming value)
202. 儒行 Ruxing Scholarly comportment (app. 怜才 Lingcai Sympathy with talent, and 高逸 Gaoyi Hidden worthies)
203.-205. 樂 Yue Music
206.-209. 書 Shu Books
210.-214. 畫 Hua Paintings
215. 算術 Suanshu Mathematics
216.-217. 卜筮 Bushi Prognostication
218.-220. 醫 Yi Medicine
221.-224. 相 Xiang Prosopomancy
225.-227. 伎巧 Qiqiao Tricks (app. 絕藝 Jueyi Consummate arts)
228. 博戲 Boxi Various skills
229.-232. 器玩 Qiwan Toys
233. 酒 Jiu Wine (app. 酒量 Jiuliang Measures of wine, and 嗜酒 Shijiu Alcoholism)
234. 食 Shi Food (app. 能食 Nengshi Appetite, and 菲食 Feishi Humble food)
235. 交友 Jiaoyou Friendship
236.-237. 奢侈 Shechi Extravagance
238. 詭詐 Guizha Cunning
239.-241. 諂佞 Channing Toadyism
242. 謬誤 Miuwu Mistakes (app. 遺忘 Yiwang Forgetfulness)
243. 治生 Zhisheng Earning a living (app. 貪 Tan Greed)
244. 褊急 Bianji Narrow-mindedness
245.-252. 詼諧 Huixie Humour
253.-257. 嘲誚 Chaoqiao Ridiculousness
258.-262. 嗤鄙 Chibi Contempt
263.-264. 無賴 Wulai Missing reliability
265.-266. 輕薄 Qingbao Frivolity
267.-269. 酷暴 Kubao Cruelty
270.-273. 婦人 Furen Women (app. 妓女 Jinü Singsong girls)
274. 情感 Qinggan Sentiments
275. 童僕 Tongpu Servants (app. 奴婢 Nubi Slaves)
276.-282. 夢 Meng Dreams (= 鬼神 Guishen I)
283. 巫 Wu Sorcerers (app. 厭咒 Yanzhou Insatiable curses)
284.-287. 幻術 Huanshu Magic arts
288.-290. 妖妄 Yaowang Weird occurrances
291.-315. 神 Shen Deities (app. 淫祠 Yinci Illegal shrines)
316.-355. 鬼 Gui Ghosts
356.-357. 夜叉 Yecha Nocturnal monsters
358. 神魂 Shenhun Souls
359.-367. 妖怪 Yaoguai Demons (app. 人妖 Renyao Evil spirits)
368.-373. 精怪 Jingguai Imagination of spirits, haunted objects
374. 靈異 Lingyi Souls
375.-386. 再生 Zaisheng Rebirths
387.-388. 悟前生 Wuqiansheng Remembrance of former lives
389.-390. 冢墓 Zhongmu Tombs
391.-392. 銘記 Mingji Inscriptions
393.-395. 雷 Lei Thunder
396. 雨 Yu Rain (app. 風虹 Fenghong Rainbows)
397. 山 Shan Mountains (app. 溪 Qi Creeks)
398. 石 Shi Stones (app. 坡沙 Posha Sands)
399. 水 Shui Water (app. 井 Jing Wells)
400.-405. 寶 Bao Jewels (app. 金玉 Jinyu Gold and jade, 錢 Qian Money, and 奇物 Qiwu Strange objects)
406.-417. 草木 Caomu Herbs and trees (app. 文理木 Wenlimu, 五穀 Wugu The five grains, and 茶 Cha Tea)
418.-425. 龍 Long Dragons
426.-433. 虎 Hu Tigers
434.-446. 畜獸 Chushou Domestic animals and beasts
447.-455. 狐 Hu Foxes
456.-459. 蛇 She Snakes
460.-463. 禽鳥 Qinniao Birds
464.-472. 水族 Shuizu Aquatic animals (app. 龜 Gui Tortoises and turles)
473.-479. 昆虫 Kunchong Worms and insects
480.-483. 蠻夷 Manyi Barbarian peoples
484.-492. 雜傳記 Zazhuanji Miscellaneous biographies
493.-500. 雜錄 Zalu Miscellaneous records
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

October 14, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail