73; 67; 57; 70; 69; 56; 52; 74; 73 folding leaves. Ten juan in nine vols. Large 8vo, orig. wrappers, new stitching. [Japan]: from final leaf of final volume (in trans.): “ninth month September 1619.”
First movable type edition printed in Japan, and a very rare book; there is apparently no copy in WorldCat. There is an example in the National Diet Library.
The book is of unknown authorship, but both its contents and the extant editions suggest that it was written in the Yuan period (1271-1368). It lists the family names of prominent Chinese lineages arranged by pronunciation. The arrangement is based, first, on the four pitch tones of Middle Chinese (level, rising, departing, and entering) and, second, on the rhymes as listed in the Song-period rhyme book Guangyun [The Expanded Rhymes]. The arrangement of Guangyun was familiar to all highly educated individuals in this period and can be compared to alphabetical order in European languages. The Great Collection of Lineages was thus clearly a reference work that readers could use to look up a certain lineage on the basis of the pronunciation of its family name.
Under the family name of each lineage, famous individuals belonging to the lineage throughout history are listed with a short biography, with a phrase of a few characters from the biography serving as its heading. The greatest value of this book lies in its inclusion of much new historical source material that can serve to complement information found in the dynastic histories. In the Ming period, Ling Dizhi (1529-1621), used the Great Collection of Lineages extensively when writing his Gujin wan xing tongpu [Unified Lists of the Myriad Family Names from Past & Present], which was published in 1579.
The Great Collection of Lineages was included in the Qianlong emperor’s great manuscript library, the Complete Books of the Four Repositories, in the 1780s. The emperor’s court bibliographers noted that since the historical events covered in the book did not go beyond the late Southern Song, the book ought to date from the Yuan period. They do not appear to have had access to a Yuan edition, however. That they included it in the imperial manuscript library shows that they nevertheless found value in it.
Fragments of at least three different Yuan-era editions have since come to light and have been published in facsimile.
A rather nice fresh set, with some occasional, mostly marginal, worming. Preserved in a chitsu.
❧ With thanks to Prof. Marten Soderblom Saarela of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. Kazuma Kawase, Kokatsuji-ban no kenkyu [Study of the Early Typographic Editions of Japan] (1967), I, p. 361 & III, p. 84, no. 226 for a reproduction. Wenyuan Ge Siku quanshu (Taipei: Taiwan Shangwu yinshu guan, 1983). Yuan ke Xinbian paiyun zengguang shi lei shizu daquan congbian (wai yi zhong) (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2017).
Item ID: 8179