An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Shi tong 十通

Jul 18, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Shi tong 十通 "Ten comprehensives" is a collection of ten enyclopaedias on statecraft written between the 9th and the late 18th centuries. Its constituents are three different types of encyclopaedias with one model each for which several supplements were written in later ages. These are the Tongdian 通典 "Comprehensive statutes" written during the Tang period 唐 (618-907) by Du You 杜佑 (735-812), the alternative history Tongzhi 通志 "Comprehensive treatises" by Zheng Qiao 鄭樵 (1104-1162) from the Song period 宋 (960-1279), and the Wenxian tongkao 文獻通考 "Comprehensive researches based on literary and documentary sources" by Ma Duanlin 馬端臨 (1254-1323), written during the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368).

These three books are called the "three comprehensives" (santong 三通), yet their supplements are also sometimes given this title because they were compiled in the same period of time.

The first phase of extension work was undertaken during the Kangxi reign-period 康熙 (1662-1722) of the Qing period 清 (1644-1911). In that age the three "comprehensives" were extended until the beginning of the Qing. The second phase was during the Qianlong reign-period 乾隆 (1736-1795), when extensions were written that described the respective fields of statecraft as organised under the Qing dynasty. The titles first three continuations were headed by the word xu 續 "continued", that of the second continuation by huangchao 皇朝 "August Dynasty", Qingchao 清朝 "Qing dynasty" or Qing 清.

Only for the Wenxian tongkao, further continuations were written, one during the Guangxu reign-period 光緒 (1875-1908) and a further, non-official version, during the Republican era. The extensions of the "three comprehensives" were compiled by a team of professional historiographers (guanxiu 官修 "done by the government") in a temporary compilation office called Santongguan 三通館, and are therefore not attributed to one single editor.

The latest edition of the Shitong was published by the Zhejiang Guji Press 浙江古籍出版社 in 2000.

Table 1. The series Shitong 十通
(Rep.) 上海商務印書館 Shanghai Commercial Press (comp.)
1935-1937 edition of the Shanghai Shangwu Yinshuguan 上海商務印書館
書名, length in juan Title Author(s)
通典 二百卷
(附) 考證 一卷
app. Kaozheng
(Tang) 杜佑 Du You
(欽定)續通典 一百五十卷 Xu tongdian (Qing) official compilation
皇朝通典 (清朝通典, 清通典) 一百卷 Huangchao tongdian (Qingchao tongdian, Qing tongdian) (Qing) official compilation
通志 二百卷
(附) 考證 三卷
app. Kaozheng
(Song) 鄭樵 Zheng Qiao
(欽定)續通志 六百四十卷 Xu tongzhi (Qing) official compilation
皇朝通志 (清朝通志, 清通志) 一百二十六卷 Huangchao tongzhi (Qingchao tongzhi, Qing tongzhi) (Qing) official compilation
文獻通考 三百四十八卷
(附) 考證 三卷
Wenxian tongkao
app. Kaozheng
(Yuan) 馬端臨 Ma Duanlin
(欽定)續文獻通考 二百五十卷 Xu wenxian tongkao (Qing) official compilation
皇朝文獻通考 (清朝文獻通考, 清文獻通考) 三百卷 Huangchao wenxian tongkao (Qingchao wenxian tongkao, Qing wenxian tongkao) (Qing) official compilation
皇朝續文獻通考 (清朝續文獻通考, 清續文獻通考) 四百卷 Huangchao xu wenxian tongkao (Qingchao xu wenxian tongkao, Qing xu wenxian tongkao) (Rep.) Liu Jinzao 劉錦藻
Endymion Wilkinson (2000). Chinese History: A Manual (Cambridge, MA/London: Harvard University Asia Center/Harvard University Press), 526.
He Jun 何軍 (1993). "Shitong 十通", in Shi Quanchang 石泉長, ed. Zhonghua baike yaolan 中華百科要覽 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), 604.
Li Bingzhong 李秉忠, Wei Canjin 衛燦金, Lin Conglong 林從龍, ed. (1990). Jianming wenshi zhishi cidian 簡明文史知識詞典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 572.
Shanghai tushuguan 上海圖書館, ed. (1982). Zhongguo congshu zonglu 中國叢書綜錄 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe), Vol. 1, 681-682.
Shi Xuanyuan 施宣圓 et al., ed. (1987). Zhongguo wenhua cidian 中國文化辭典(Shanghai: Shanghai shehui kexueyuan chubanshe), 66.
Qiao Long 憔隆 (1985). "Shitong suoyin yu Shisanjing suoyin 《十通索引》與《十三經索引》", Lishi jiaoyue wenti 歷史教學問題, 1985 (3).
Wang Weiqing 王渭清 (1987). "Tan Shitong de jiansuo yu liyong 談“十通”的檢索與利用", Jiangsu Tushguan xuebao 江蘇圖書館學報, 1987 (12).
Wang Yuguang 王余光, Xu Yan 徐雁, ed. (1999). Zhongguo dushu da cidian 中國讀書大辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 481.