History of Liao
History of Liao, or Liao Shi (simplified Chinese: 辽史; traditional Chinese: 遼史; pinyin: Liáo Shǐ; "Dynastic History of the Liao Dynasty") is a Chinese historical book compiled officially in the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) founded by the Mongols, under the direction of the great historian Tuotuo, and finalized in 1344. Based on Khitan's primary sources and other previous official Chinese records, it exposes the Khitan people, Khitan's tribal life and traditions, and Liao Dynasty's official history.
History of Liao of 1344 was compiled using older sources, mainly:
- the Shilu (Veritable Records), completed in the Khitan Liao Dynasty (907-1125) under Yelü Yan's direction;
- the Liao Shi, compiled in the Jurchen Jin Dynasty under Chen Daren's direction, though never published;
- and several other sources such as the Zizhi Tongjian (1080's), Qidan Guozhi and other descriptions of the Khitans in the previous dynastic histories (Wei Shu, Sui Shu, ...).
The Liao Shi contains 116 volumes, including 30 volumes of Imperial Annals, 32 volumes of Records of Institutions, 8 volumes of Tables, 48 volumes of Biographies and Descriptions, and 1 volume of Glossary of National Language.
Many Chinese scholars of the time argued that the non-han, "barbarian" Liao Dynasty did not merit its own official history, but rather posited that the Liao histories should be an addendum to the history of the Song, which was ethnically han. This was part of the larger dispute between the Mongol court and the Chinese literati scholars, in which the Chinese political theory whereby only one dynasty could be deemed legitimate at a time clashed with the Mongol's beliefs to the contrary. Due to this dispute between two different political cultures, the Liao Shi, as well as the histories of the concurrent Jin and Song dynasties, was not officially compiled until 1343-1344, when the pro-Chinese Chief Councillor Toγto (Chinese: 脱脱) took up the pre-Yuan histories project again. In its final form, this project conceded to the Mongol court's desire to treat the Liao, Jin, and Song dynasties as equally legitimate dynasties. The compilation of the Liao Shi was finished in one year by imperial historians, although without undergoing any but the most minimal of proofreadings. Because of this, the Liao Shi and the other two pre-Yuan histories are known for their technical errors, lack of precision, inconsistencies in transcribing non-Chinese terms and names, and over-lapping subject matter. Scholars have noted the internal and external contractions in Liao Shi as early as the Qing period. Nonetheless, the Liao Shi provides a large amount of knowledge on Khitan's imperium's tribal politics and traditions. Since the Yelü Yan's Shilu and the Chen Daren's Liao Shi are no longer available, Toγto's Liao Shi is the only known Chinese-style historical record of the history of the Khitan imperium.
The work of collation and punctuation have been done several times, by example in the Qianlong edition, the Nanjian edition, the Beijian edition, Baina edition and the Daoguang edition.
The nowadays commonly use edition is the Zhonghua Shuju Press edited Liao Shi, under direction of the Khitan studies' specialists Feng Jiasheng and Chen Shu, and based on the Baina edition. This Zhonghua Shuju Press version and its annotations also refer to other historical sources such as the Cefu Yuangui, Zizhi Tongjian, Xu Zizhi Tongjian Changbian, Jiu & Xin Tangshu, Jiu & Xin Wudai Shi, Song Shi, Jin Shi, Qidan Guozhi and Liao Wenhui.
- Xu Elina-Qian, p.22
- Hok-lam Chan, p.73
- Xu Elina-Qian, pp.22-23
- 遼史, 脱脱, 中华书局, 1974.
|Chinese Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Xu Elina-Qian, Historical Development of the Pre-Dynastic Khitan, University of Helsinki, 2005. 273 pages. 2.1 Introduction to the Sources on the Pre-dynastic Khitan (pp.19-23) > The Liao shi, p.22-23
- Hok-lam Chan. China & the Mongols: History and Legend under the Yuan and Ming. Brookfield, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 1999.
- Liao Shi (LS) 遼史 (Dynastic History of the Khitan Liao Dynasty): Tuotuo 脱脱 et al. eds. Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju 中华书局, 1974.