Memoirs of Master Chao-te's Readings in the Chun Studio

AnonymousAD 960-AD 1279

National Palace Museum

National Palace Museum
Taipei, Taiwan

Zhao Gongwu (ca. 1105-1180), Song dynasty (with additions by Chao Hsi-pien)
Yuanzhou Song imprint of 1249 by Li An-ch'ao with later revisions and additions

Zhao Gongwu, a native of Shandong, resided in the Chao-te ward of the capital K'ai-feng (Pien-liang)--hence his name "Mr. Chao-te" as indicated in the title of this book. After enemy Jin forces invaded the Song capital in 1126, he fled with his family to Sichuan. A Sichuan official, Ching Tu, had a collection of books, which he subsequently gave to Zhao Gongwu. Not counting repeats in his own collection, Zhao Gongwu had more than 24,500 volumes. He studied these texts and composed abstracts for them. At the time, Zhao Gongwu was living at Jung-chou and I-chun, so his book was entitled "Memoirs of Readings in the Chun Studio." His book was divided into four parts: the Chinese Classics, history, philosophy, and compendia. Each part composed a summary and a preface, and each subdivision had an individual preface, which was included with the abstract of the first book therein. Each book contains an abstract providing detailed information on the author, annotator, and period in which it was done. Zhao Gongwu provided an invaluable service to later scholars through his impartial and accurate research on the texts in his collection.

The original book had four chuan (chapters) and was printed in Sichuan. Later, in Sichuan, 20 additional chapters were included by Zhao Gongwu's disciple, Yao Ying-chi. In 1249, an imprint was made in Ch'u-chou of Yao's version and hence known as the Ch'u-chou Edition. The following year, an addition of two more chapters ("Hou-chih") was made along with an addendum ("Fu-chih") by Chao Hsi-pien. Published together in Yuanzhou, it was known as the Yuanzhou Edition, which is the one currently in the collection of the National Palace Museum. The Yuanzhou Edition is ranked over the Ch'u-chou Edition because it has seven more parts and an addendum of 569 parts. With the addition by Chao Hsi-pien, it brings the text up to the Qingyuan era (1195-1200) of the Song dynasty, thereby superseding the Ch'u-chou Edition in completeness.

This book has seven chapters with the first four being from the memoirs itself. Chapters one to three are divided into two sections and chapter four into three. Chapter five is the addendum, which is also divided into two parts. The other two chapters represent the "Hou-chih." The imprint is exquisite and the characters beautifully arranged for an archaic style that makes this a treasure among rare books.


  • Title: Memoirs of Master Chao-te's Readings in the Chun Studio
  • Creator: Anonymous
  • Date Created: AD 960-AD 1279
  • Physical Dimensions: 34.2 x 22.2 cm (print: 22.5 x 17 cm)
  • Type: Rare Books
  • Rights: National Palace Museum
  • Dynasty: Song dynasty

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