Abstract des Vortrags


"All the World Looked Upon It as a Teacher": Some Reflections on the Meaning of Kaifeng to the Author of the Ducheng jisheng


The focus of my paper is laid on the relationship between the Imperial Capital of Kaifeng in Northern Song times and Hangzhou in Southern Song times as it is reflected in the Ducheng jisheng, a work the title of which should perhaps best be rendered with “Highlighting the Splendors of a capital”. My major interest is, however, not so much the attitude that the author displays towards Hangzhou and the question whether it was his intention to applaude or rather to condemn the developments that have taken place in Hangzhou: On the contrary, in my analysis of the author’s comparisons between Kaifeng and Hangzhou I will be concentrating on Kaifeng and the question which function Kaifeng had for the author of the Ducheng jisheng.

The Ducheng jisheng was compiled in the Second Year of Emperor Lizong (1235 A.D.) In the preface to his work, the anonymous author who called himself "the Old Man who Waters His Garden and Practices Patience" (Guanpu Naide Weng), writes:

"When the Ancestor of Our Holy Dynasty had established the state, he made Bian his capital, and as regards both people’s costumes and rites, all the world looked upon it as a teacher. And after Emperor Gaozong has established his temporary residence in Hangzhou – the landscape of Hang(zhou) being so exquisite and the people being so prosperous - it surpasses the old capital already ten times! (…)"

It seems that by these few words the main purpose of this small work is already summarized: to demonstrate that Hangzhou in Southern Song times was very much like Kaifeng in Northern Song times, with the only difference that, in his view, at the time when he put down his notes, Hangzhou had in almost every respect surpassed Kaifeng already by far.

At closer reading of the Ducheng jisheng, it is striking how frequently comparisons between the situation in Hangzhou and Kaifeng, both explicitly and implicitly, are drawn. This raises the question what precisely Kaifeng meant to the author of the Ducheng jisheng. And besides, since the Ducheng jisheng was written more than a hundred years after the downfall of the Northern Song dynasty, one has to ask which sources could have served the author as a basis for his comparison. Would it be plausible that the Dongjing meng Hua lu not only served as the major source to the author of the Ducheng jisheng, but even as a kind of standard?

In my paper, I have traced this question by browsing the altogether 14 sections of the Ducheng jisheng text systematically for references to the Dongjing meng Hua lu and by examining to which degree the aspects referred to by the author of the Ducheng jisheng are actually contained in and could thus have been taken from Dongjing meng Hua lu. Based on this research, my argument will focus on the following aspects: First, the meaning of Kaifeng for the author of the Ducheng jisheng; second, the meaning of the Dongjing meng Hua lu for the author of the Ducheng jisheng; and finally, the relevance of the comparisons between Southern Song Hangzhou and Northern Song Kaifeng within the context of the ongoing discussions on the decision to give Hangzhou the status of the new formal capital.