Supplement to the Local Gazetteer of Wu Prefecture
Wujun (Wu Prefecture) is an ancient name used during the Qin and Han (221 BCE–220 CE) for the seat of Guiji (situated in present-day Suzhou). The words tu jing in the title denote an older type of local gazetteer, which first appeared during the Eastern Han (25–220 CE). It was not until the Southern Song that such works were replaced by more formal gazetteers. This printed work is a very rare Song edition. The work goes back to 1099, the second year of Yuanfu era during the reign of Emperor Zezong (1086–1100), when Zhu Anshang of Suzhou began the engraving but discontinued it because of the war underway at the time. Sun You, prefect of Suzhou, undertook the printing in 1134 during the rule of the first Southern Song emperor, Gaozong (reigned 1127–64). A later Ming edition, published by painter and bibliophile Qian Qingshi (1508–87), also was produced, but its quality was below that of this fine Song copy. In his handwritten postscript, Huang Peilie (1763–1825), the famed Qing bibliophile, related how he acquired this work. Learning about a copy at the home of the bookseller Gu Tingyu, he visited the latter and was impressed by the quality of the book and its exquisite paper and ink, which were superior to those of his own copy. The price of the book was set at 60 pieces of silver. Negotiations for the acquisition broke down. Huang Peilie then paid a second visit to Gu, who convinced Huang that Wujun zhi (Gazetteer of Wu Prefecture) together with a work by the Southern Song poet Fan Chengda (1126–93) would equal in value a pair of priceless jades. In the end, Huang acquired the copy for 50 pieces of silver. Weng Tonghe (1830–1904), a politician and a famed calligrapher, added a postscript to the work, in which he claimed that this is the only existing copy. The complete work was compiled by Zhu Changwen (1039–98), who was a native of Suzhou and a calligraphy theorist. Because there was an earlier gazetteer entitled Wu di ji, this work was called a supplement. It has three juan. Juan one contains the table of contents and deals with 15 geographic features, including borders, towns, population, neighborhoods, local products, social customs, names of homes, schools, county dwellings, the Southern Garden, granaries, sea routes, pavilions, the prefecture, and personalities. Juan two covers bridges, temples, palaces, monasteries, mountains, and bodies of water. Juan three deals with water management, antiquities, garden houses, tombs, tomb inscriptions, events, and miscellany. The number of categories is more than double that in the earlier work. Virtually every aspect of Suzhou is covered, but especially noteworthy is the emphasis on geography, including descriptions of borders and the founding of Wu State. The emphasis on sea routes and water management reflects the fact that Suzhou is near the sea and has numerous lakes and rivers. Local cultural antiquities also are described in detail. The rich contents make this a valuable resource for studying the history of Suzhou.
Sun You, Suzhou, China
Title in Original Language
Type of Item
3 juan, 3 volumes, 21 x 15.1 centimeters
- Only preface and juan 1–2 are included in the WDL presentation.
Last updated: May 24, 2017