An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Chongwen zongmu 崇文總目

Feb 19, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Chongwen zongmu 崇文總目 "General catalogue of the Academy for the Veneration of Literature" is a bibliography compiled by the Northern Song-period 北宋 (960-1126) scholar Wang Yaochen 王堯臣 (1003-1058).

The Chongwenyuan 崇文院 was the imperial archive of the Northern Song dynasty. It consisted of the Historiography Institute (shiguan 史館), the Institute for the Glorification of Literature (zhaowenguan 昭文館), and the Academy of Scholarly Worthies (jixianyuan 集賢院) and served as the official institute for the preservation and revision of documents and books. A fourth library was that of the Imperial Archives (mige 秘閣) containing documents and books only accessible to those employed in the inner palace.

The earliest catalogue compiled by this institution was the Sanchao guoshi yiwen zhi 三朝國史藝文志 (lost). In 1037, Emperor Renzong 宋仁宗 (r. 1022-1063) ordered Zhang Guan 張觀, Li Shu 李淑 and Song Qiding 宋祁定 to check a further heap of documents and books, either for preservation or to eliminate those from the archive. Numerous scholars took part in the compilation of the revised catalogue, including Ouyang Xiu 歐陽修 (1007-1072), Song Xiang 宋庠 (996-1066), Wang Zhu 王洙 (997-1057), Lü Gongchuo 呂公綽 (999-1055), Nie Guanqing 聶冠卿 (b. 988) and Guo Zhen 郭稹. In 1042, the Hanlin academician Wang Yaochen 王堯臣 (1003-1058) submitted the catalogue to the throne, and the emperor bestowed it the name Chongwen zongmu.

During the reign of Emperor Shenzong 宋神宗 (r. 1067-1085) it was updated, and again during the reign of Emperor Huizong 宋徽宗 (r. 1100-1125), with the title of Mishu zongmu 秘書總目 (Bishu zongmu 祕書總目). During the Shaoxing reign-period 紹興 (1131-1162) of the early Southern Song 南宋 (1127-1279), a further supplement was compiled, called Shaoxing xu shumu 紹興續書目 (full title Song Shaoxing bishusheng xubian dao siku shumu 宋紹興祕書省續編到四庫書目). A critical commentary on it written by the modern scholar Ye Dehui 葉德輝 (1864-1927) can be found in Ye's reprint series Guangutang shumu congke 觀古堂書目叢刻.

The Chongwen zongmu is 66-juan long, plus one juan of introduction and index (xulu 敘錄). The books are arranged in the four traditional categories of literature, with 45 sub-categories.

The whole bibliography lists 3,445 books, with a physical volume of 30,669 juan. The prefaces and the commentaries to each section, as well as the arrangement, were worked out by Ouyang Xiu. For each book, a description is provided describing the author, the origin and the history of the book. The most important change in comparison to older bibliographies is the incorporation of religious Daoist and Buddhist texts into the masters category, a fact which shows the change of minds among the imperial librarians who were traditionally oriented towards Confucianism and whodispised the two religions as not equal to other writings.

The Chongwen zongmu was not very widespread during the Song period, and the statements about the size of the books differ from that in other sources. During the Ming 明 (1368-1644) and Qing 清 (1644-1911) periods the Chongwen zongmu was stored in the private Tianyige Library 天一閣. During the Kangxi reign-period 康熙 (1662-1722), the remains of it were rediscovered. Half a century later it served as the base for the categorization in the reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, but it had to be reconstructed from quotations in the Ming-period encyclopedia Yongle dadian 永樂大典.

Only about a third of the original text could be reconstructed, with a length of 12 juan. The prefaces to the categories are more or less all preserved, as are the imperial judgments to the catalogue. During the Jiaqing reign-period 嘉慶 (1796-1820), Qian Dongyuan 錢東垣 (Qian Tong 錢侗, 1778-1815) and Qin Jian 秦鑑 added some fragments surviving in a manuscript copy of the Tianyige version (buyi 補遺). They compiled the commented Chongwen zongmu jishi 崇文宗目輯釋, in 5 juan, with a supplement (buyi 補遺) of 1 juan. This reconstruction was published in the series Yueyatang congshu 粵雅堂叢書, Hou zhibuzuzhai congshu 後知不足齋叢書 and Congshu jicheng 叢書集成.

Table 1. Literary categories of the Chongwen zongmu 崇文總目
1. 經部 Jingbu Confucian Classics
易經 Yijing Commentaries on the Book of Changes
尚書 Shangshu Commentaries on the Book of Documents
詩經 Shijing Commentaries on the Book of Songs
Li Commentaries on the Rites
Yue Books on music
春秋 Chunqiu Commentaries on the Spring and Autumn Annals
孝經 Xiaojing Commentaries on the Book of Filial Piety
論語 Lunyu Commentaries on the Confucian Analects
小學 Xiaoxue Elementary learning and lexicography
2. 史部 Shibu Historiography
正史 Zhengshi Official dynastic histories
編年 Biannian Annals and chronicles
實錄 Shilu Veritable records
雜史 Zashi Miscellaneous histories
偽史 Weishi Histories of usurpatorious dynasties
職官 Zhiguan State offices
儀注 Yizhu State rituals
刑法 Xingfa Law codices
地理 Dili Administrative geography
氏族 Shizu Family registers
歲時 Suishi Edicts concerned with the seasons
傳記 Zhuanji Biographies
目錄 Mulu Bibliographies
3. 子部 Zibu Masters and philosophers
儒家 Rujia Confucian treatises
道家 Daojia Writings of Philosophical Daoism
法家 Fajia Legalist treatises
名家 Mingjia Treatises of sophists or dialecticians
墨家 Mojia Mohist treatises
縱橫家 Zonghengjia Treatises on coalition advisors or diplomatists
雜家 Zajia Miscellaneous treatises
農家 Nongjia Agricultural treatises
小說家 Xiaoshuojia Novellas and stories
兵家 Bingjia Military treatises
類書 Leishu Encyclopedias
算術 Suanshu Mathematical treatises
藝術 Yishu Treatises on prognostication with hexagrams
醫書 Yishu Treatises on medicine
卜筮 Bushi Treatises on divination with milfoil stalks
天文占書 Tianwen zhanshu Treatises on astronomy and astrology
曆數 Lishu Treatises on the calendar
五行 Wuxing Treatises on the Five Processes
道書 Daoshu Writings of Religious Daoism
釋書 Shishu Buddhist writings
4. 集部 Jibu Belles-lettres
總集 Zongji Anthologies and collective belles-lettres
別集 Bieji Collected writings of individual persons
文史 Wenshi History of literature, literary critique
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. 2, 1463.
Meng Zhaojin 孟昭晉 (1990). "Chongwen zongmu 崇文總目", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Xinwen chuban 新聞•出版 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 57.