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Unless otherwise specified, the descriptions of sources in this section are extracted from Pierre-Etienne Will and collaborators,Official Handbooks and Anthologies of Imperial China: A Descriptive and Critical Bibliography (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).
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TitleLongjin fengsui pan 龍筋鳳髓判
Topic2.3 Judicial cases: historical casebooks
Historical periodAntique and Medieval period
Reprint (year of)2005
AuthorZhang zhuo 張鷟
CollectionLidai panli pandu 歷代判例判牘
Number of volume1
Place of publication北京
Publication typePrint

Although the work has been described as the earliest known complete collection of officially approved judicial cases, only the names being fictitious (see introduction to the Lidai panli pandu ed.), it is in fact a collection of fictitious cases written as  examination models, “writing  decisions” (shupan  書判) being  an important  test  for selecting  officials during the Tang. The  pan  in the Tang were “decisions”, or even “opinions”,  in the general sense,  i.e.dealing with difficult or dubious administrative cases of any sort; therefore only part of the cases  in the present work  are of a  judicial nature:  some  deal with administrative discipline, while others are essentially policy proposals set in the form of memorials. The 75 (in the Siku ed.) or 78 (in the Quan Tang wen) entries are arranged according  to a list of 48  (Siku) or 50 (Quan Tang wen)  civilian and military departments and offices belonging to the central government and imperial palace, starting with the grand secretariat (zhongshu sheng  中書省) and ending with the bureau of gardens (goudun shu  勾盾署;  the case is lacking for this last entry [though not in the two Beiping shanben copies]), with either 1 or 2 entries per category. The “cases” concern either the mistakes or crimes of officials belonging to the institutions cited, or problems having arisen within their jurisdiction. Each  entry features  a  short presentation  of the problem at hand,  followed by the text itself, set in flowery parallel-sentence style (pianwen 駢文) and laden with literary and historical allusions.  In the Liu Yunpeng recension, which was used  for  most  subsequent editions, an abundance of explanatory  notes are inserted in the text; likewise, the  historical origins of each institution and its nature under the Tang are explained in a footnote at the head of each category. In the eyes of the Siku commentators, Hong Mai‟s  洪邁  criticism in an entry of his Rongzhai suibi 容齋隨筆,  to the effect  that Zhang Zhuo is accumulating stories  rather than  deciding on punishment and discussing the law, is unjustified inasmuch as the work was composed for the sake of literary allusions,  not  of  “established  law”  (本為隸事而作,不為定律而作). The commentators also remark that, whereas  the early Song literary anthology Wenyuan yinghua 文苑英華  contains many such model judgments from the Tang period (the pan section in the Wenyuan yinghua covers j. 503-552), they are mostly unsigned; the only attributed collections are those by Zhang Zhuo and Bai Juyi (see under  Baidao pan), the former emphasizing stylistic elegance (ruli  縟麗) and the latter, fluency (liuli  流利).   

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