The Four Categories of Literature
Masters and Philosophers
Anthologies and Collected Works
Tianyige shumu 天一閣書目 "Catalogue of the Hall of Celestial Unity" is a catalogue of the library of the Tianyige Studio 天一閣. The 10 juan "scrolls" long book, with one additional juan including stone tablet inscriptions (Bei mu 碑目) was compiled by the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Fan Maozhu 范懋柱 (1718－1788). Fan Maozhu was a descendant of Fan Qin 范欽 (1506-1585), a famous collector of books, and inherited his forebear's library. As owner of one of the largest libraries of the country he was consulted during the compilation of the collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書. The categories of the Tianyige shumu are roughly identical to those in the Siku quanshu and might have played a decisive role for the large imperial collection.
The Tianyige Library is the oldest, and one of the largest private libraries in China. It is located in Ningbo 寧波, Zhejiang, and was inaugurated in 1532 by Fan Qin. Fan Qin who climbed the ladder of carrer up to a position in the Ministry of War, loved reading and collecting books. In his early years he was disappointed by the condition of books present in the Wanjuanlou Library 萬卷樓 of Feng Fang 豐坊. Feng Fang entrusted a lot of his books to Fan Qin. Fan Qin and his collegue Wang Shizhen 王世貞 copied a lot of rare books from various libraries and started establishing their own library.
The Tianyige Hall has two stories, the upper of which is not divided into rooms, while the lower storey is divided into six rooms. This construction represents the unity of Heaven (the name of the hall is therefore "Hall of Celestial Unity") and the division of Earthly phenomena and beings into categories. The books are all standing in the upper floor, in bookshelves that are arranged to shape several "rooms", three in the centre, one to the west, and one to the east. While the wind can go through all shelves from most sides, the shelves on the eastern side are not occupied by books in fear of moisture damage. For the same reasons the shelves have a fundament of stones. The construction of the Tianyige served as archetype of the Wenyuange Hall 文淵閣 and the other halls in which the seven copies of the Siku quanshu were stored.
The books Fan Qin was interested in were mainly products of his own times, the Ming period 明 (1368-1644). He assembled a lot of lists of candidates passing the state examinations and local gazetters from throughout the country, even from remote places as Yunnan and Hainan Island. Today, these books are very rare. His collection also includes a lot of literary writings from the Ming period, as well as Ming period reprints from older books of the Song 宋 (960-1279) and Yuan 元 (1279-1368) periods. Later on, the owners of the Tianyige Library also collected rubbings of stone tablet inscriptions, of which more than 700 were collected (there is one juan of a catalogue Tianyige beimu 天一閣碑目 compiled by Qian Daxin 錢大昕 and Zhang Yanchang 張燕昌). The library was so famous and important that it was often visited by scholars to consult old books. The owners therefore had to keep a strict eye on their books and cared for the safety of this important collection. During the 17th century there were some losses, and the books presented to the Qianlong Emperor 乾隆 (r. 1736-1795) for the compilation of the Siku quanshu also have to be counted among the losses. During the Opium War, British soldiers stole the imperial geography of the Ming, the Da-Ming yitong zhi 大明一統志, and many local gazetteers from that time. Further damage occurred during the Taiping Rebellion. Yet the greatest loss occurred in 1924 when the Tianyige Library was plundered by some profiteers that sold the books on the antiques market. Of the once 70,000 juan of books, only a seventh is left today. Only a small part of the lost books could be purchased back or were presented by other private collectors.
The first juan of the Tianyige shumu includes one very large book presented by the emperor, two books for which the emperor wrote calligraphy for the title, two books with illustrations presented by the emperor, and a list of 696 books that the family Fan presented to the emperor.
The section of the Confucian Classics includes 226 books, the historiographical section 1,276 books., the section of masters and philosophers 1,011 books, and the section of belles-lettres 827 books.
A small supplement (Buyi 補遺) contains 38 further books and illustrations, as well as 16 books written by members of the family Fan.
The last, appended juan includes a list of rubbings of stone inscriptions (beituo 碑拓) from all ages.
The catalogue is very detailed and provides the titles of books, authors' names, the number of juan and information about different prints. A lot of books are also commented with indications about prefaces and postfaces, and a summary of the content and the history of the transmission. The Tianyige shumu is included in the collectaneum Xiancunzhai congshu 現存齋叢書.
經部 Jingbu Confucian Classics
易 Yi The Book of Changes
書 Shu The Book of Documents
詩 Shi The Books of Songs
禮 Li The ritual books
春秋 Chunqiu The Spring and Autumn Annals
經總 Jingzong Books dealing with all Classics
四書 Sishu The Four Books
樂 Yue Books on music
小學 Xiaoxue Lexicography
史部 Shibu Historigraphy
正史 Zhengshi Official dynastic histories
編年 Biannian Annals and chronicles
紀事本末 Jishi benmo Historical events in their entirety
別史 Bieshi Alternative histories
雜史 Zashi Miscellaneous histories
詔令奏議 Zhaoling zouyi Edicts and memorials
傳記 Zhuanji Biographies
史鈔 Shichao Historiographical excerpts
載記 Zhuanji Local chronicles
時令 Shiling Edicts concerned with seasons
地理 Dili Administrative geographies
職官 Zhiguan Books on state offices
政書 Zhengshu Books on politics
目錄 Mulu Bibliographies
史評 Shiping Historical critique
子部 Zibu Masters and philosophers
儒家 Rujia Confucian treatises
兵家 Bingjia Military treatises
法家 Fajia Legalist treatises
農家 Nongjia Agricultural treatises
醫家 Yijia Medical treatises
天文 Tianwen Treatises on astronomy
術數 Shushu Treatises on divination
藝術 Yishu Treatises on the arts
譜錄 Pulu Scientific treatises
雜家 Zajia Miscellaneous treatises
類書 Leishu Encyclopedias
小說 Xiaoshuo Novellas
釋家 Shijia Buddhist treatises
道家 Daojia Daoist treatises
集部 Jibu Belles-lettres
楚辭 Chuci Poetry of the South
別集 Bieji Individual belles-lettres
總集 Zongji Collective belles-lettres
雜著 Zazhu Miscellaneous writings
詩文評 Shiwenping Literary critique
詞典 Ciqu Songs and arias
Sources: Ji Shuying 冀淑英 (1992), "Tianyige 天一閣", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe 中國大百科全書, Tushuguanxue qingbaoxue dang'anxue 圖書館學情報學檔案學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), p. 416. ● 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, p. 1470.
February 19, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
Chinese Literature over time