School of International Letters and Cultures

Chinese 500: Biography

Guides to Biographical Sources

I. Companion Guides to the Twenty-Four Histories.

A. Ershiwu shi jizhuan renming suoyin 二十五史紀傳人索引. Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe and Shanghai shudian, 1990. EAL A joint guide to both the Twenty Five Histories 《二十五史》, published jointly by the Shanghai guji chubanshe and Shanghai shudian (reprint of the Kaiming ed. of 1934) and the Twenty Four Histories《二十四史》and 史稿》, published by Zhonghua shuju, in Beijing. This is a comprehensive index to all biographical materials from the standard histories, including the “Hereditary Houses” 世家 section of the Records of the Historian 《史記》and the names listed in Pei Songzhi’s commentary to the Records of the Three Kingdoms 《三國志》. Some 1200 pages in length, the work has a 4-corner system index that lists entries in both editions:

B. To individual histories. These works are important because they index every single occurance of a person's name in the text. Far more comprehensive than the former. They follow a similar arrangement, except that the location is given as:

juan number 93/2669 page number

  1. 1. Zhong Hua 鍾華, comp. Shi ji renming suoyin 史記人名索引. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1977.
  2. 2. Wei Lianke 魏連科, comp. Hanshu renming suoyin 漢書人名索引. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1979.
  3. 3. Zhang Chenshi 張忱石, comp. Jinshu renming suoyin 晉書人名索引. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1977.
  4. 4. Chen Zhong’an 陳仲安, Tan Liangyi 譚兩宜, and Zhao Xiaoming 趙小鳴, comps. Beichao sishi renming suoyin 北朝四史人名索引. 2 Vols. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1977.
  5. 5. Zhang Wangqi 張萬起, comp. Xin Jiu Tangshu renming suoyin 新舊唐書人名索引. 3 Vols. Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1977.
  6. 6. Cui Wenyin 崔文印 and Zeng Yifen 曾貽芬, comps. Liao shi renming suoyin 遼史人名索引. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1982.
  7. 7. Cui Wenyin 崔文印, comp. Jinshi renming suoyin 金史人名索引. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1980.
  8. 8. Li Yumin 李裕民, comp. Mingshi renming suoyin 明史人名索引. 2 Vols. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1982.

II. General Biographical Concordances and Dictionaries

A. Brief entries and general information.

These works have, in large, been completely superseded, although some information is occasionaly found that warrants a look, particularly in the case of the second.

Giles, Herbert A. A Chinese Biographical Dictionary. New York: Paragon Book, 1962. (Taipei: Literature House, 1964). Rpts. of 1898 edition.

B. Works on dating historical figures and finding biographical information not in histories.

C. Finding names other than surnames and given names.

Please note: most of the dynastic biographical dictionaries also have lists of zi and hao; using a general source such as these above should not be considered a substitute for checking individual catalogues.

D. Taboo names.

1. Taboo names represent a special problem. They have developed over the years as an important factor in classical texts. Generally, younger generations or any person in an inferior position may not, whether discussing past or present, use the name of rulers or of any elder generation. If one has to use a character that is taboo, one must alter the character in significant ways. This is especially a problem if using Qing editions, since the early literary inquisitions of the Qing were ruthless in ferreting out taboo names. Some of the problems can be avoided by simply understanding a few of the basic rules.

There are three basic strategies: 1. “Changing the character” (改字法), 2. “Omitting a stroke” (缺字法) , and 3. “Leaving a blank space” (空字法).

1. Public Taboos (公諱) are those that violate the names of emperors, sages, or any revered name in the public domain. Names that violate these taboos are dealt with in several ways.

2. Family Taboos (家諱) are those that violate the names of any male ancestor within three generations. This practice is a feature of the writings of literati and scholars. The famous Han historian, Sima Qian, consistently changed the character tan in the Shiji 史記to tong in order to avoid his father's given name, Sima Tan. The father of the Han historian, Fan Ye 范曄, was named Fan Tai . In the History of the Later Han , Fan changed the name of Guo Tai 郭泰 to in Guo's biography, or called him by his style name, Linzong 林宗. Du Fu's father was named Du Xian 杜閑, and the character does not occur anywhere in Du Fu's works. Wang Anshi's 王安石 father was named Yi , and in his famous treatise on etymology, the Explanation of Characters, Wang omits the word yi from his work. In a similar manner, Su Shi 蘇軾changed the generic title of xu (“Preface”) to xu in his collected works to avoid the taboo name of his grandfather, Su Xu. The Tang had the further prohibition that a person could not serve in the government in a post that contained a word in its title that was the same as a person's father or grandfather. For instance, no person whose father's or grandfather's name contained the character chang could serve in the Taichang 太常, or court of imperial sacrifice.

E. Some specific Biographical Dictionaries.

1. Zhu Shijia 朱士嘉. Song Yuan fangzhi zhuanji suoyin 宋元傳記索引. Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1986. Rep. of 1963 ed. Lists biographical entries for 3, 949 people in 33 different Song and Yuan local gazetters. Indexed by stroke count and by four-corner system.

2. Chen Gaohua 陳高華. Song Liao Jin huajia shiliao 宋遼金畫家史料. Beijing: Wenwuchubanshe, 1984. Rep. of 1963 ed.

3. Wang Zhaowen 王肇文. Song Yuan kangong xingming suoyin 宋元刊工姓名索引. Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1990.

4. Chen Gaochun 陳高春. Zhongguo yuwenxue jia cidian 中國語文學家辭典. Zhengzhou: Honan renminchubanshe, 1986.

5. Shandong daxue wen she zhe yanjiusuo山東大學文史哲研究所, ed. Zhongguo lidai zhuming wenxuejia pingzhuan 中國歷代著名文學家評傳. 5 Vols. Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe, 1984.

6. Tan Zhengbi 譚正壁, ed. Zhongguo wenxuejia da cidian 中國文學家大辭典. Hong Kong: Wenshi chubanshe,

7. Suzhou daxue tushuguan 蘇州大學圖館, ed. Zhongguo lidai mingren tujian 中國歷代名人圖鑑. 2 vols.

F. Some specific Biographical Dictionaries. Tang and Song:

1. Fang Jiliu 方積六 and Wu Dongxiu 吳冬秀, eds. Tang Wudai wu-shi-er zhong biji xiaoshuo renming suoyin 唐五代五十二種筆記小說人名索引. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1992. UCB EAL Z3108.L5.F36 1992 An index to 47 Tang and Five Dynasties collections, and 2 Song editions that incorporate Tang dynasty works in their text. It also indexes selections from the Taiping guangji《太平廣記》, the Leishuo《類說》, and the Shuofu《說孚》. Four-corner index with stroke-radical key to the four corner system.

2. Fu Xuanzong 傅璇琮, Xu Yimin 許逸民, and Zhang Chenshi 張忱石, eds. Tang Wudai renwu zhuanji ziliao zonghe suoyin 唐五代人物傳記資料總合索引. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1982. UCB EAL DS749.4 F8

3. Wang Deyi 王德毅, et al., eds. Songren zhuanji ziliao suoyin 宋人傳記資料索引. 6 vols. Taipei: Dingwen shuju, 1974. Rpt. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1988.

4. Wang Deyi 王德毅, ed. Song huiyao jigao renming suoyin 宋會要輯稿人名索引. Taipei: Dingwen shuju, 1974.UCB EAL DS751.S87 1988

5. Hong Ye 洪業, ed. Sishiqi zhong Songdai zhuanji zonghe yinde 四十七種宋代傳記總合引得. Harvard-Yenching Institute Sinological Index Series, no. 34. Beiping: Harvard Yenching Index Series Press, 1939; Rpt. Tokyo: Tôyô bunko,1959.UCB EAL

6. Aoyama Sadao 青山定雄, ed. Sôjin denki sakuin 宋人傳記索引. Tokyo: Tôyô bunko,1968.UCB EAL

7. Kinugawa Tsuyoshi 衣川強, ed. Sô Gen Gakuan Sô Gen Gakuan hoi jinmei jihô betsumei sakuin 宋元學案宋元學案補遺人名字號別名索引. Kyoto: Kyôtô daigaku jimbun kagaku kenkyûjo,1974.UCB EAL

8. Lee Mei Ching-ying, comp. Index des Noms Properes dans les Annales Principales de l'Histoire des Song. Publications de la Faculté des lettres et Sciences Humaines de Paris-Sorbonne, Série «Textes et Documents», no. 12.Paris: Presses Universitaires des France, 1966. UCB EAL DS748.5 M4

9. Franke, Herbert, comp. Sung Biographies. 4 vols. Münchener ostasiatische Studien, Band 16. Wiesbaden:Franz Steiner Verlag, 1976. UCB EAL DS751.5 S96 1976

    1. 10. Umehara kaoru 梅原郁 ed. Zoku Shiji tsûgan chôhen jinmei sakuin 續資治通鋻長編人名索引. Kyoto: Hôyû shoten,1978. UCB EAL
    2. Index to names in the Song historical work, Xu Zizhi tongjian changbian.

11. Umehara kaoru 梅原郁 ed. Ken’in irai keinen yôroku jinmei sakuin 建炎以來繁年要錄人名索引. Kyoto: Dôhô shoten,1983.UCB EAL

1. Kinugawa Tsuyoshi 衣川強 and Umehara kaoru 梅原郁 ed. Ryô Kin Gen jin denki sakuin 遼金元人傳記索. Kyoto: Kyôtô daigaku jimbun kagaku kenkyûjo,1974.UCB EAL

2. Chen Gaohua 陳高華, ed. Song Liao Jin huajia shiliao 宋遼金畫家史料. Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 1984.UCB EAL

3. Kinugawa Tsuyoshi 衣川強, ed. Sô Gen Gakuan Sô Gen Gakuan hoi jinmei jihô betsumei sakuin 宋元學案宋元

學案補遺人名字號別名索引索引. Kyoto: Kyôtô daigaku jimbun kagaku kenkyûjo,1974.UCB EAL An index to all names, style names, and sobriquet of persons mentioned in the 100 chapter Song Yuan xue’an and Sung Yuan xue'an buyi, two Qing dynasty collections of biographies of eminent Neo-Confucian scholars; includes a finding list for both the original Qing edition and that reprinted in the Sibu beiyao.

4. Kinugawa Tsuyoshi 衣川強 and Umehara kaoru 梅原郁 ed. Ryô Kin Gen jin denki sakuin 遼金元人傳記索. Kyoto: Kyôtô daigaku jimbun kagaku kenkyûjo,1974.UCB EAL

5. Wang Deyi 王德毅 ed. Yuanren zhuanji ziliao suoyin 元人傳記資料索引. 5 vols. Taipei: Xinwenfeng chuban gongsi ,1979. Rpt. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1982. UCB EAL DS748.5 W37 1979

6. DeRachewiltz, Igor and Nakano Maeno, eds. Index to Biographical Materials in Chin and Yuan Literary Texts. 3 vols. Canberra: Australian National University, 1969. UCB Main DS3.A2A88.D7