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Jinxiu wanhua gu 錦繡萬花谷 "The Valley of the Ten Thousand Flowers like Embroidered Brocades"

The Jinxiu wanhua gu 錦繡萬花谷 "Valley of the ten thousand flowers like embroidered brocades" is an encyclopedia written during the Song period 宋 (960-1279) by an unknown author, probably Xiao Zanyuan 蕭贊元 from the time of Emperor Xiao 宋孝宗 (r. 1162-1189), but before 1188. It is divided in to three parts, the first collection (qianji 前集) in 40 juan "scrolls", the second collection (houji 後集) in 40 juan, and a supplementary collection (xuji 續集) with the same size, making a total of 120 juan. The bibliography Qianqingtang shumu 千頃堂書目 lists a fourth collection (bieji 別集) of 30 juan (150 juan in total). The surviving editions all include parts written during the late Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) which are additions by later authors. The first collection is divided into 242 topics, the second collection into 326, the third collection includes chapters to 47 themes, and the fourth collection speaks about 196 themes. Each theme is introduced by a descriptive part and explained by quotations of poetry and prose writings. The arrangement of the themes is not as stringent as in other encyclopedias, and the vast array of topics makes this encyclopedia rather a vast ocean of various themes, for which literary sources of different quality are quoted. The Jinxiu wanhua gu is, nevertheless, an excellent source preserving a lot of phrases from books otherwise lost, like Zhilin 職林, Junge yatan 郡閣雅談, Yunlin yijing ji 雲林異景記 or Yayan xishu 雅言系述. This is especially true for the poems quoted at the end of each chapter.
There is a moveable character print from 1490 by Hua Sui's 華燧 Huitongguan Studio 會通館, in 100 juan, and a print from the Jiajing era 嘉靖 (1522-1566). The book is included in the reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書. It has been reprinted in 1969 by the Xinshudian press 新書店 in Taipeh, as well as in 1991 by the Shanghai guji press 上海古籍出版社.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2039. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤 (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書, pp. 107-108. Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe.

Chinese literature according to the four-category system

February 7, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail