CHINAKNOWLEDGE - a universal guide for China studies | HOME | About
Encoding: Unicode (UTF-8) [Location: HOME > Literature > Historiographical category > Historical events in their entirety > Tongjian jishi benmo]

Chinese Literature
Tongjian jishi benmo 通鑑紀事本末 "Historical Events of the Comprehensive Mirror in their Entirey"


The Tongjian jishi benmo 通鑑紀事本末 "Historical events of the Comprehensive Mirror in their entirey" is a rearrangement of the chronicle Zizhi tongjian 資政通鑒 of the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) historian and politician Sima Guang 司馬光. The Tongjian jishi benmo was written by the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) scholar Yuan Shu 袁樞 (1131-1205). In this type of history particular historic events are arranged around certain central themes that make it much easier to understand the origins of certain development and their results, than a simple chronological arrangement of the events as used in the Zizhi tongjian or the arrangement of history in the shape of biographies (jizhuanti 紀傳體) like in the official dynastic histories. The 142 juan "scrolls" long book comprises 1,362 separate historic events in their entirety, beginning with the dissolution of the ancient state of Jin 晉 by the marquesses of Han 韓, Wei 魏 and Zhao 趙 in 403 BCE and ends with the foundation of the Song dynasty in 960. These events are arranged in 239 chapters, with 66 additional chapters appended to some of the main chapters, making out a total of 305 chapters. During the compilation process, Yuan Shu made use of the cut-and-paste method and rearranged paragraphs of the Zizhi tongjian, but in such a refined way that the reader is not aware that the text was actually not compiled as a coherent narrative but in a potpourri method. The content concentrates on event history and neglects a lot of other interesting aspects, like politics, administration and economy.
The Tongjian jishi benmo was first printed in 1176. There is a commentary written for each chapter compiled by the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) historian Zhang Pu 張溥. The most common version of the Tongjian jishi benmo is that of the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 from 1955.
Yuan Shu's Tongjian jishi benmo proved so useful and easy-to-read that it became the ancestor of a throughly new tradition of historiography, the jishi benmo 紀事本末 type. They combined the style of the dynastic histories with Yuan Shu's book and created, for example, the Songshi jishi benmo 宋史紀事本末 or Mingshi jishi benmo 明史紀事本末. The compilers of the collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書 added to these books the historiographical type of the military annals (fanglüe 方略) describing the military campaigns of the Qing dynasty 清 (1644-1911).
During the Guangxu reign 光緒 (1875-1908) two collectanea were published that included a large number of histories written in the style of "historical events in their entirety". The first was the Lichao jishi benmo compiled and published in 1899 (repr. 1910) by Chen Rusheng and Zhu Jirong, and the second the Jishi benmo huike 紀事本末彙刻 published by the Guangya Publishing House 廣雅書局 in 1900.

Lichao jishi benmo 歷朝紀事本末
(Qing) 陳如升 Chen Rusheng, 朱記榮 Zhu Jirong (comp.)
書名, length in juan Title Author(s)
左傳紀事本末 五十三卷 Zuozhuan jishi benmo (Qing) 高士奇 Gao Shiqi
通鑑紀事本末 二百三十九卷 Tongjian jishi benmo (Song) 袁樞 Yuan Shu,
(Ming) 張溥 Zhang Pu (comm.)
通鑑長編紀事本末一百五十卷 Tongjian changbian jishi benmo (Song) 楊仲良 Yang Zhongliang
宋史紀事本末 一百零九卷 Songshi jishi benmo (Ming) 馮琦 Feng Qi,
(Ming) 陳邦瞻 Chen Bangzhan (rev.),
(Ming) 張溥 Zhang Pu (comm.)
遼史紀事本末 四十卷 Liaoshi jishi benmo (Qing) 李有棠 Li Youtang
金史紀事本末 五十二卷 Jinshi jishi benmo (Qing) 李有棠 Li Youtang
西夏紀事本末 三十六卷 Xixia jishi benmo (Qing) 張鑑 Zhang Jian
元史紀事本末 二十七卷 Yuanshi jishi benmo (Ming) 陳邦瞻 Chen Bangzhan
(Ming) 張溥 Zhang Pu (comm.)
明史紀事本末 八十卷 Mingshi jishi benmo (Qing) 谷應泰 Gu Yingtai
三藩紀事本末 二十二卷 Sanfan jishi benmo (Qing) 陳陸榮 Chen Lurong
Shanghai tushuguan 上海圖書館 (ed. 1982), Zhongguo congshu zonglu 中國叢書綜錄, vol 1, p. 639. Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe.

紀事本末彙刻 Jishi benmo huike
(Qing) 廣雅書局 Guangya Printing House (comp.)
書名, length in juan Title Author(s)
左傳紀事本末 五十三卷 Zuozhuan jishi benmo (Qing) 高士奇 Gao Shiqi
通鑑紀事本末 二百三十九卷 Tongjian jishi benmo (Song) 袁樞 Yuan Shu,
(Ming) 張溥 Zhang Pu (comm.)
通鑑長編紀事本末一百五十卷 Tongjian changbian jishi benmo
(missing 6-7, 114-119)
(Song) 楊仲良 Yang Zhongliang
宋史紀事本末 一百零九卷 Songshi jishi benmo (Ming) 馮琦 Feng Qi,
(Ming) 陳邦瞻 Chen Bangzhan (rev.),
(Ming) 張溥 Zhang Pu (comm.)
遼史紀事本末 四十卷 Liaoshi jishi benmo (Qing) 李有棠 Li Youtang
金史紀事本末 五十二卷 Jinshi jishi benmo (Qing) 李有棠 Li Youtang
元史紀事本末 二十七卷 Yuanshi jishi benmo (Ming) 陳邦瞻 Chen Bangzhan
(Ming) 張溥 Zhang Pu (comm.)
明史紀事本末 八十卷 Mingshi jishi benmo (Qing) 谷應泰 Gu Yingtai
Shanghai tushuguan 上海圖書館 (ed. 1982), Zhongguo congshu zonglu 中國叢書綜錄, vol 1, p. 639. Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe.

Not included in these collectanea is Zhang Xingyao's 張星曜 (1633-1711+) Tongjian jishi benmo bu houbian 通鑑紀事本末補後編, Ni Zaitian's 倪在田 Xu Ming jishi benmo 續明紀事本末, Sun Yirang's 孫詒讓 Mingchao jishi benmo bubian 明朝紀事本末補編, Li Mingmo's 李銘模 (fl. 1885-1905) Xu zizhi tongjian gangmu jishi benmo 續資治通鋻綱目紀事本末, and Ma Su's 馬驌 Yishi 繹史.
In 1996, Wang Liansheng 王連升 published a comprehensive history of China with the title Xinbian Zhongguo lichao jishi benmo 新編中國歷朝紀事本末 (Taiyuan: Shanxi jiaoyu chubanshe), whose volumes are each dedicated to one dynasty. The idea is based on the book Lichao jishi benmo 歷朝紀事本末, published in 1910 (Shanghai: Wensheng shuju) by Chen Rusheng 陳如升 and Zhu Jirong 朱記榮.


Source: Chen Guangchong 陳光崇 (1992). "Tongjian jishi benmo 通鑑紀事本末", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史, vol. 2, p. 1145. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.

Chinese literature according to the four-category system

3 July, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail