An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Baoke congbian 寶刻叢編

Mar 18, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Baoke congbian 寶刻叢編 "Catalogue of precious incisions" is a catalogue of stone slab inscriptions compiled during the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) by Chen Si 陳思 (1225-1264), courtesy name Xuyun 續芸, who was a collector and editor in Lin'an 臨安 (today's Hangzhou 杭州, Zhejiang). He also wrote a book on crab apples, Haitangpu 海棠譜, several books on calligraphy, Shuyuan jinghua 書苑菁華, Xiaozilu 小字錄 and and Shu xiaoshi 書小史, and the biographical collection Liang-Song mingxian xiaoji 兩宋名賢小集.

The 20-juan "scrolls" long book is arranged in the same geographical order as the Yuanfeng jiuyu zhi 元豐九域志, so that it is also a kind of atlas of the stone inscriptions of Song period China, including insciptions from all ages. It also includes some inscriptions on metal objects like weights and tallies, and some calligraphy models. The Song-period place names are sometimes not identical to the names mentioned in older inscriptions (like old Runzhou 潤州 for Song-period Zhenjiang 鎮江), which can lead to confusion.

For each inscription, Chen Si also provides information about his source, but only the author of the inscription and not the book from which he extracted it. Inspite of these shortcomings Chen Si's catalogue is important because it covers all parts of China and not only the area of the Southern Song empire, as in Wang Xiangzhi's 王象之 (1163-1230) catalogue Kunyu beimu 輿地碑目.

It also records some stone insciptions that are long since lost and that are not preserved in the surviving parts of other books like Master Shi's 施氏 Daguan tie zongshi xu 大觀帖總釋序, Zeng Nanfeng's 曾南豐 Jigulu 集古錄, the Jigu houlu 集古後錄, Zhudao shike lu 諸道石刻錄, Fuzhai beilu 復齋碑錄, Jingzhao jinshi lu 京兆金石錄, Fangbeilu 訪碑錄, Yuanfeng beimu 元豐碑目 or Zigu shaozhi lu 資古紹志錄. Other sources have survived, like Ouyiang Xiu's (1007-1072) Jigulu 集古錄, the Jinshilu 金石錄 of Zhao Mingcheng 趙明誠 (1081-1129), or Lishi 隸釋 and Lixu 隸續 by Hong Shi 洪適 (1117-1184).

Some of the inscriptions are not found in other books at all, like the Rutie 汝帖, Ci'en Yanta Tangren timing 慈恩雁塔唐人題名 or the Yuezhou Shishi tiemu 越州石氏帖目.

The Baoke congbian was not printed, and some parts of the manuscript are lost. It is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編. The Yueyatang congshu 粵雅堂叢書 includes a book with the title Baoke leibian 寶刻類編 which is also a fragmentarily surviving catalogue of stone inscriptions compiled by an unknown author.

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, 1503.
Wu Rongceng 吳榮曾 (1992). "Baoke congbian 寶刻叢編", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe 中國大百科全書, Vol. Kaoguxue 考古學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 35.