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Chinese Literature
Tianzhongji 天中記 "Records from Mt. Tianzhong"

The Tianzhongji 天中記 "Records from Mt. Tianzhong" is an encylopedia compiled by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Chen Yuewen 陳躍文 (also called Chen Yaowen 陳耀文), who lived on Mt. Tianzhong, hence the title of the book. Is is also called Songhai huibian 宋海彙編. Chen Yaowen has also written the books Jingdian qiyi 經典稽疑 and Xuelin zhengjiu 學林正就. The Tianzhongji was finished in 1589 after twenty years of compilation. It has an appendix containing a rhapsody on astronomy by the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) writer Zhang Heng 張衡. The first printed version is 50 juan "scrolls" long, a version from the late 16th century 60 juan, covering 796 topics. The Tianzhongji quotes a tremendous amount of primary literature, which Chen all comments in details and indicating the sources, sometimes above the article, and sometimes below. He also corrected errors occurring in his sources. One weak point of the encyclopedia is that there are no first-level headlines of thematic fields, so that all themes are grouped in untitled chapters.
There are surviving prints from the Longqing 隆慶 (1567-1572) and the Wanli 萬曆 (1573-1619) reigns, in 50 juan, and a print from 1610 in 60 juan. The Tianzhongji is included in the reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書. In 1991 the Shanghai guji press 上海古籍出版社 published this edition separately. The Wenhai press 文海出版社 in Taibei had published it separately in 1964.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2048. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤 (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書, pp. 238-239. Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe.

1.-6. Astronomy, weather, seasons, calendar
7.-8. Mountains
9.-10. Rivers
11. Rulers
12. Imperial commands, the royal house, palaces
13. Local administration
14.-16. Buildings, places
17.-19. Family relationship
20.-21. Social relationship
22.-23. The human body and psyche
24.-29. Character, feelings, comportment
30.-34. Government structure
35.-36. Buddhism and Daoism
37. Literature
38. Tools of the study
39. Human conditions
40. Divination
41. Sports and entertainment
42. Ritual
43. Music
44. Wine and tea
45. Grains and hemp
46. Various plants
47.-48. Caps and robes
49. Furniture, tools, decoration, jewellery
50. Fabric and metals
51.-52. Trees
53. Useful plants
54.-55. Domestic animals
56. Dragons, snakes and fish
57. Frogs, worms, insects
58.-59. Birds
60. Unicorns, wild animals
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

December 17, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail