Records of the Southern Song Imperial Library


This work is an account of the Imperial Library (Zhong xing guan) during the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279). It was compiled by Chen Gui (1128–1203), who received the jin shi degree in 1150 and became an official at the library. Issued circa 1265–74, it traces the history of the Imperial Library from the beginning of the Southern Song. The work records the names of library officials, their stipends, their positions, and their daily activities; and provides information on the library’s basic functions, including book acquisition and arranging, collection maintenance, as well as editing, compilation, and printing. This copy is missing one volume on the history of the library.  It is accompanied by a 10-juan supplement, which lacks the volume on the stipends. Juans 7 and 8 of the supplement provide the names of officials and titles up to the year of 1269, but they were printed using a different type, probably during the early years of the Yuan dynasty. This work is included in Si ku quan shu (The Siku Collection), which was compiled during the Qing dynasty and used, as its source, the Ming encyclopedia Yongle da dian (published during the Yongle reign of 1403–24). The book was rarely seen after the Ming dynasty. Some hand-copied editions could be found in private collections, but they often contained errors. This copy was previously in the collection of Huang Raopu (1763–1825), a bibliophile and collector of Song edition books. It later it went to the collections of five other famous collectors before coming into the possession of the National Central Library. The work is similar to another compilation, Lin tai gu shi (Stories of the Imperial Library), by Cheng Ju (1078–1144).

Last updated: November 9, 2011