- 東洋学報 = The Toyo Gakuho (ISSN:03869067)
- vol.101, no.2, pp.1-30, 2019-09
The origins and earliest history of the Leishu 類書 genre of encyclopedias quoting passages from earlier literary erudition on selected themes, and thus expressing the worldview and scope of knowledge of the compilers, is not yet fully understood, due to the fact that almost all Leishu compiled before the Sui 隋 and Tang 唐 periods have been scattered and/or lost. A recent important study has shown that the earliest Leishu could be categorized into two types based on their content: those of the Southern Dynasties (南朝) and those of the Northern Dynasties (北朝); however, disagreement still remains among scholars over such issues as the order and collation style of the items contained in the earliest works. This article, accordingly, analyses the characteristics of the early genre based on a critique of the research to date, in order to place the historical development of the Leishu within the context of the history of scholarly inquiry between the Han and Tang Periods. After re-confirming that the passages quoted in the remaining fragments of Xiuwendian Yulan 修文殿御覽, compiled by the Northern Qi (北齊) Dynasty were arranged according to the four traditional literary categories of Jing-Shi-Zi-Ji 經史子集, the author shows that the citations of Hualin Bianlüe 華林遍略, compiled by the Liang 梁 Dynasty, did not, as already known, conform to that order, but rather one in accordance with the three categories of “Zishu 字書 (Chinese dictionary)-Jing 經-other books (listed in chronological order).” In view of the fact that Dunhuang Document P.2326, while not Hualin Bianlüe, but also compiled by the Southern Dynasties, are arranged in this same latter order (with no chronological order for “other”), such a structure should be regarded as the standard by which the Leishu from the Southern Dynasties were compiled; and was strongly influenced by the development of the art of annotation-commentary on the Jing, Shi and Ji genres from the Han Dynasty on. So it does not follow that the Leishu genre always presented comprehensive surveys of the all the Jing-Shi-Zi-Ji works from the start, but rather with both changing styles of erudition and historical consciousness, Leishu gradually came to cite works from a more and more diverse number of themes, topics and sources. The author concludes that the Leishu compiled in the Southern Dynasties, were not convenient reference books for writing poems, but rather encyclopedias for understanding the worldviews of ancient literature, developing in close connection with the growth of scholarship, in general, and historical consciousness, in particular, from the Han Period on.