( ) is the first Chinese
work about historiography
compiled by Liu Zhiji
between 708 and 710. The book describes
the general pattern of the past official dynastic historiography on
structure, method, order of arrangement, sequence, caption and
commentary back to the pre-Qin
It contains about 88,000 words including Liu's commentaries, which
divided into 39 inner chapters and 13 outer chapters, 3 of the
inner chapters had been lost since the times of Ouyang Xiu
, while the rests managed to survive.
The inner chapters which are a principal part of the book provided
information on the types, forms, rules, layout, the collecting of
historical materials, outline, and the principle of historiography.
The outer chapters describe the official system of the
historiographer, origin and development of histories, and the
success and failure of past historians
of Song Dynasty are no longer
available, while the reprinted editions of Ming Dynasty can still be seen.
The oldest are the 1535
edition by Lu Shen, the most complete version of them being the
1577 edition by Zhang Zhixiang, which was published by Zhonghua
Shuju in 1961.