The Kuitanlu 愧郯錄 "Ashamed by (the Viscount of) Tan" is a biji 筆記 "brush notes" style book compiled by the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279)
scholar Yue Ke 岳珂 (1183-1234), courtesy name Yue Suzhi 岳肅之, style Xianweng 倦翁. He came from Tangyin 湯陰, Henan, and was a grandson of the famous hero Yue Fei 岳飛. He occupied the office of Vice Minister of Revenue (hubu shilang 戶部侍郎), then Overseer-general of the military commissioners (zongling zhizhishi 總領制置使) of Huaidong 淮東. Yue Ke has compiled a history about his grand-father, the Jintuo zuibian 金陀粹編, the texts Yuchuji 玉楮集, Tanghu shigao 棠湖詩稿, Sanming zhimi fu 三命指迷賦, Baozhenzhai fashu zan 寶真齋法書贊, Tingshi 桯史, and a revised edition of the Five Classics, the Xiangtai wujing 相臺五經.
The 15 juan "scrolls" long Kuitanlu provides information about the administrative system of the Song empire, with some excursions on the Jin empire 金 (1115-1234) of the Jurchens. The title of the book is derived from a passage in the Classic Zuozhuan 左傳, where the viscount (zi) of Tan 郯 instructs Confucius 孔子 about the ideal structure of the government of his small, semi-barbarian statelet. The book speaks about the system of posthumous titles of emperors, taboo names, the names of dynasties, diplomatic embassies, the bestowal of official seals, the palace secretariat, penal law, state examinations and promotion of state officials, the terms of offices in various institutions of the central government and field allotments for the sustaining of the imperial tombs. The descriptions of the 125 themes are very interesting because they provide additional information to the official statutes and rules of imperial administration, like the use of "fish bag" batons (yudai 魚袋) or other insignia (zhangshi 章飾) as signs of an official's grade, the designations for princesses, girdles of official robes under the Jin, and many more themes that are not recorded elsewhere. In this respect the Kuitanlu is similar to Ye Mengde's 葉夢得 Shilin yanyu 石林燕語.
The Kuitanlu is included in the reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Zhibuzuzhai congshu 知不足齋叢書, Xuehai leibian 學海類編, Sibu congkan xubian 四部叢刊續編, Biji xiaoshuo daguan 筆記小說大觀, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 and Shuofu 說郛. The version in the Congshu jicheng includes a text-critical apparatus (Jiaokanji 校勘記), a supplement of fragments (Quewen bulu 闕文補錄) and Yan Ke's postface (Houxu 後序).
Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe, vol. 2, p. 1957.