Book of Sui

The Book of Sui (Suí Shū) is the official history of the Sui dynasty. It ranks among the official Twenty-Four Histories of imperial China. It was commissioned by Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty, and written by a team of prominent scholars, including Yan Shigu, Kong Yingda, and Zhangsun Wuji, with Wei Zheng as the lead author. It was completed in 636 AD.

Book of Sui
Traditional Chinese隋書
Simplified Chinese隋书


The format used in the text follows the composite historical biography format (斷代紀傳體) established by Ban Gu in the Book of the Later Han with three sections: annals (紀), treatises (志), and biographies (傳. [1] The extensive set of 30 treatises, sometimes translated as 'monographs', in the Book of Sui was completed by a separate set of authors and added in 656, 20 years after the original text was completed. [2] The treatises cover the Liang, Chen, Northern Qi, and Northern Zhou dynasties in addition to the Sui. They are an essential source of information on the subjects covered for those dynasties. The treatises on classics (經籍) are especially important because the Book of Sui is the only standard history including such a section since the Book of Han and contains essential bibliographical information for the period from the Later Han (25–220) to the Sui dynasty. The treatises were initially circulated as a separate set titled 五代史志 'Treatises of the History of the Five Dynasties.' [3]

Annals (帝紀)

# Title Translation Notes
Volume 1 帝紀第1 高祖上 Gaozu
Volume 2 帝紀第2 高祖下 Gaozu
Volume 3 帝紀第3 煬帝上 Emperor Yang
Volume 4 帝紀第4 煬帝下 Emperor Yang
Volume 5 帝紀第5 恭帝 Yang You

Treatises (志)

# Title Translation Notes
Volume 6 志第1 禮儀1 Rites
Volume 7 志第2 禮儀2 Rites
Volume 8 志第3 禮儀3 Rites
Volume 9 志第4 禮儀4 Rites
Volume 10 志第5 禮儀5 Rites
Volume 11 志第6 禮儀6 Rites
Volume 12 志第7 禮儀7 Rites
Volume 13 志第8 音樂上 Music
Volume 14 志第9 音樂中 Music
Volume 15 志第10 音樂下 Music
Volume 16 志第11 律曆上 Rhythm and the Calendar
Volume 17 志第12 律曆中 Rhythm and the Calendar
Volume 18 志第13 律曆下 Rhythm and the Calendar
Volume 19 志第14 天文上 Astronomy
Volume 20 志第15 天文中 Astronomy
Volume 21 志第16 天文下 Astronomy
Volume 22 志第17 五行上 The Five Elements
Volume 23 志第18 五行下 The Five Elements
Volume 24 志第19 食貨 Food and Money
Volume 25 志第20 刑法 Punishment and Law
Volume 26 志第21 百官上 Government Offices
Volume 27 志第22 百官中 Government Offices
Volume 28 志第23 百官下 Government Offices
Volume 29 志第24 地理上 Geography
Volume 30 志第25 地理中 Geography
Volume 31 志第26 地理下 Geography
Volume 32 志第27 經籍1 Classics
Volume 33 志第28 經籍2 Classics
Volume 34 志第29 經籍3 Classics
Volume 35 志第30 經籍4 Classics

Biographies (列傳)

# Title Translation Notes
Volume 36 列傳第1 后妃 Empresses
Volume 37 列傳第2 李穆 梁睿 Li Mu; Liang Rui
Volume 38 列傳第3 劉昉 鄭譯 柳裘 皇甫績 盧賁 Liu Fang; Zheng Yi; Liu Qiu; Huangfu Ji; Lu Ben
Volume 39 列傳第4 于義 陰壽 陰世師 竇榮定 元景山 源雄 豆盧勣 豆盧毓 賀若誼 Yu Yi
Volume 40 列傳第5 梁士彥 宇文忻 王誼 元諧 王世積 虞慶則 元胄 Liang Shiyan; Yuwen Xin; Wang Yi
Volume 41 列傳第6 高熲 蘇威 Gao Jiong; Su Wei
Volume 42 列傳第7 李德林 李百藥 Li Delin; Li Baiyao
Volume 43 列傳第8 河間王弘 楊処綱 楊子崇 觀德王雄
Volume 44 列傳第9 滕穆王瓚 道悼王靜 衛昭王爽 蔡王智積 Yang Zan; Yang Jing; Yang Shuang
Volume 45 列傳第10 文四子 Four Princes of Wen
Volume 46 列傳第11 趙煚 趙芬 楊尚希 長孫平 元暉 韋師 楊異 蘇孝慈 李雄 張煚
Volume 47 列傳第12 韋世康 柳機 Wei Shikang
Volume 48 列傳第13 楊素 弟約 從父文思 文紀 Yang Su
Volume 49 列傳第14 牛弘 Niu Hong
Volume 50 列傳第15 宇文慶 李禮成 元孝矩 郭榮 龐晃 李安 Yuwen Qing
Volume 51 列傳第16 長孫覽 從子熾 熾弟晟
Volume 52 列傳第17 韓擒虎 賀若弼 Han Qinhu; Heruo Bi
Volume 53 列傳第18 達奚長儒 賀婁子幹 史萬歲 劉方 Daxi Zhangru; Shi Wansui; Liu Fang
Volume 54 列傳第19 王長述 李衍 伊婁謙 田仁恭 元亨 杜整 李徹 崔彭
Volume 55 列傳第20 杜彥 高勱 爾朱敞 周搖 獨孤揩 乞伏慧 張威 和洪 侯莫陳穎
Volume 56 列傳第21 盧愷 令狐熙 薛胄 宇文㢸 張衡 楊汪
Volume 57 列傳第22 盧思道 李孝貞 薛道衡 Lu Sidao; Li Xiaozhen
Volume 58 列傳第23 明克讓 魏澹 陸爽 杜台卿 辛德源 柳䛒 許善心 李文博
Volume 59 列傳第24 煬帝三男 Three Princes of Yang
Volume 60 列傳第25 崔仲方 于仲文 段文振 Cui Zhongfang; Yu Zhongwen
Volume 61 列傳第26 宇文述 雲定興 郭衍 Yuwen Shu
Volume 62 列傳第27 王韶 元岩 劉行本 梁毗 柳彧 趙綽 裴肅
Volume 63 列傳第28 樊子蓋 史祥 元壽 楊義臣 衛玄 劉權 Fan Zigai
Volume 64 列傳第29 李圓通 陳茂 張定和 張奫 麥鐵杖 沈光 來護兒 魚俱羅 陳稜 王辯 Lai Hu'er
Volume 65 列傳第30 周羅睺 周法尚 李景 慕容三藏 薛世雄 王仁恭 權武 吐萬緒 董純 趙才
Volume 66 列傳第31 李諤 鮑宏 裴政 柳庄 源師 郎茂 高構 張虔威 榮毗 陸知命 房彥謙
Volume 67 列傳第32 虞世基 裴蘊 裴矩 Yu Shiji; Pei Yun; Pei Ju
Volume 68 列傳第33 宇文愷 閻毗 何稠 Yuwen Kai
Volume 69 列傳第34 王劭 袁充 Wang Shao; Yuan Chong
Volume 70 列傳第35 楊玄感 李子雄 趙元淑 斛斯政 劉元進 李密 裴仁基 Yang Xuangan; Li Zixiong; Li Mi (Sui dynasty); Pei Renji
Volume 71 列傳第36 誠節 Sincere Men
Volume 72 列傳第37 孝義 Filial Piety
Volume 73 列傳第38 循吏 Upright Officials
Volume 74 列傳第39 酷吏 Cruel Officials
Volume 75 列傳第40 儒林 Confucian Scholars
Volume 76 列傳第41 文學 Literature
Volume 77 列傳第42 隱逸 Hermits
Volume 78 列傳第43 藝術 Artists
Volume 79 列傳第44 外戚 Imperial Affines
Volume 80 列傳第45 列女 Exemplary Women
Volume 81 列傳第46 東夷 The Dongyi
Volume 82 列傳第47 南蠻 The Nanman
Volume 83 列傳第48 西域 The Western Regions
Volume 84 列傳第49 北狄 The Beidi
Volume 85 列傳第50 宇文化及 宇文智及 司馬德戡 裴虔通 王充 段達 Yuwen Huaji; Yuwen Zhiji; Wang Shichong



  1. ^ Xiong (2015), pp. 330-331.
  2. ^ Xiong (2015), pp. 332.
  3. ^ Twitchett (2015), p. 87.

Works cited

  • Xiong, Victor Cunrui (2015). "Sui shu 隋書". In Dien, Albert E.; Chennault, Cynthia Louise; Knapp, Keith Nathaniel; Berkowitz, Alan J. (eds.). Early Medieval Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide. Berkeley, CA: Institute of East Asian Studies University of California. pp. 330–334.
  • Twitchett, Denis (2009). The Writing of Official History in the T'ang. Berkeley, CA: Institute of East Asian Studies University of California.

External Links

Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms

Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (simplified Chinese: 三国志注; traditional Chinese: 三國志注; pinyin: Sān Guó Zhì Zhù) by Pei Songzhi (372-451) is an annotation completed in the 5th century of the 3rd century historical text Records of the Three Kingdoms, compiled by Chen Shou. After leaving his native land, Pei Songzhi became the Gentleman of Texts under the Liu Song Dynasty, and was given the assignment of editing the book, which was completed in 429. This became the official history of the Three Kingdoms period, under the title Sanguozhi zhu (zhu meaning "notes"). He went about providing detailed explanations to some of the geography and other elements mentioned in the original. More importantly, he made corrections to the work, in consultation with records he collected of the period. In regard to historical events and figures, as well as Chen Shou's opinions, he added his own commentary. From his broad research, he was able to create a history which was relatively complete, without many of the loose ends of the original. Some of the added material was colourful and of questionable authenticity, possibly fictional. All the additional material made the book close to twice the length of the original.


Asena is the name of a she wolf associated with the Oghuz Turkic foundation myth.

Cormorant fishing

Cormorant fishing is a traditional fishing method in which fishermen use trained cormorants to fish in rivers. Historically, cormorant fishing has taken place in Japan, China and Korea, as well as Greece, North Macedonia, and, briefly, England and France. It is described as a method used by the ancient Japanese in the Book of Sui, the official history of the Sui Dynasty of China, completed in 636 AD. This technique has also been used in other countries but is currently under threat in China.To control the birds, the fishermen tie a snare near the base of the bird's throat. This prevents the birds from swallowing larger fish, which are held in their throat, but the birds can swallow smaller fish. When a cormorant has caught a fish in its throat, the fisherman brings the bird back to the boat and has the bird spit the fish up. Though cormorant fishing once was a successful industry, its primary use today is to serve the tourism industry.

The types of cormorants used differ based on the location. In Gifu, Japan, the Japanese cormorant (P. capillatus) is used; Chinese fishermen often employ great cormorants (P. carbo). Darters (anhinga), which are very close relatives of cormorants, are also used for this fishing technique on occasion.

Du Ruhui

Du Ruhui (585–630), courtesy name Keming, posthumously known as Duke Cheng of Lai, was a Chinese official who served as a chancellor under Emperor Taizong in the early Tang dynasty. He and his colleague, Fang Xuanling, were often described as role models for chancellors in imperial China.

Gang Isik

Gang I-sik is the name given to the Goguryeo commander in the 590s. He is mentioned in the genealogy of Jinju Gang clan and the Joseon Sanggosa, written by Shin Chaeho. In Samguk Sagi and Book of Sui, his real name and his achievements are unclear.

Goguryeo–Sui War

The Goguryeo–Sui War were a series of invasions launched by the Sui dynasty of China against Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, between AD 598 and AD 614. It resulted in the defeat of the Sui and was one of the pivotal factors in the collapse of the dynasty, which led to its overthrow by the Tang dynasty in AD 618.


The Göktürks, Celestial Turks, Blue Turks or Kuck Turks (Old Turkic: 𐰜𐰇𐰛:𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰, Kök Türük; Chinese: 突厥/تُركِئ; pinyin: Tūjué, Middle Chinese: *duət̚-kʉɐt̚ (türkut), Dungan: Тўҗүә; Khotanese Saka: Ttūrka, Ttrūka; Old Tibetan: Drugu, tatar: kük törek, bashqurt: kük török) were a nomadic confederation of Turkic peoples in medieval Inner Asia. The Göktürks, under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan (d. 552) and his sons, succeeded the Rouran Khaganate as the main power in the region and established the Turkic Khaganate, one of several nomadic dynasties which would shape the future geolocation, culture, and dominant beliefs of Turkic peoples.

Iki Province

Iki Province (壱岐国, Iki no kuni) was a province of Japan which consisted of the Iki Islands, now a part of modern Nagasaki Prefecture. Its abbreviated name was Isshū (壱州). Iki is classified as one of the provinces of the Saikaidō. Under the Engishiki classification system, Iki was ranked as an "inferior country" (下国) and a "far country" (遠国).

Isanavarman I

Īśānavarman (Iśânasena) or Yīshēnàxiāndài (Chinese: 伊奢那先代) was a king of the Cambodian kingdom of Chenla in 7th century, which would later become the Khmer Empire. He was the son of, and successor to Mahendravarman.After Mahendravarman's death, Isanavarman took Isanapura as his capital. The Sambor Prei Kuk historical complex has been identified as Isanapura, the 7th century capital of Chenla.The main temples at Sambor Prei Kuk are said to have been founded by King Isanavarman I.

The Book of Sui, compiled in 636, states that at the beginning of the 7th century, Zhēnlà was ruled by one Yīshēnàxiāndài (Īśānavarman) (伊奢那先代).

Inscription at Prasat Toc, Prasat Bayang, Vat Chakret, Kdei Ang Chumnik and Sambor Prei Kuk is attributed to the reign of Isanavarman I. The latest inscription attributed to him has been dated to 627 (549 Saka), while the only dated inscription attributed to his successor, Bhavavarman II, is of 639.Ma Duanlin described King Ishanavarman's "sumptuous court" at Ishanapura, with the king wearing a crown of gold with precious stones, pearl pendants, and attended by five great ministers. Inscriptions to his reign may be found at Kdei Ang (AD 667), Roban Romas, Kuk Prah Kot, Wat Chakret, and Wat Po. The claimed authority over Tamrapura, Cakrankapura, Amoghapura and Bhimapura. Besides the future King Bhavavarman II, a second son, Shivadatta, was governor of Jyesthapura.An inscription dating from the reign of Isanarvarman I, translated, reads: “The great King Isanavarman is full of glory and bravery. He is the King of Kings, who rules over Suvarnabhumi until the sea [Samudra-paryanta Suvarṇabhūmi], which is the border, while the kings in the neighbouring states honour his order to their heads”. Dr Vong Sotheara, of the Royal University of Phnom Penh, claimed that the inscription would “prove that Suvarnabhumi was the Khmer Empire.”

Kingdom of Kapisa

The Kingdom of Kapisa was a state located in Kapisa, in what is now Afghanistan during the late 1st millennium CE. The name Kapisa appears to be a Sanskritized form of a name for the area in prehistory. (Following its conquest in 329 BCE by Alexander the Great, the area was officially renamed Alexandria on the Caucasus.) The kingdom stretched from the Hindu Kush in the north to Bamiyan and Kandahar in the south and west, out as far as Jalalabad District in the east. Between the 7th and 9th centuries, the kingdom was ruled by the Turk Shahi house.In a 7th-century Chinese chronicle, the Book of Sui, the Kingdom of Kapisa appears to be known as the Kingdom of Cao. In around 600 AD, the Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang made a pilgrimage to Kapisi, and described there the cultivation of rice and wheat, and a king of the Suli tribe. In his chronicle, he relates that in Kapisi were over 6,000 monks of a heretical sect of the Mahayana school of Buddhism.At one point, Bagram was the capital of the kingdom, though in the 7th century, the center of power of Kapisa shifted to Kabul.

Liuqiu (medieval)

The Liuqiu or Lewchew of the Book of Sui and other medieval Chinese texts was a realm said to have existed in the East China Sea. It is variously identified with Taiwan Island, the Penghu or Pescadore Islands, and the Ryukyu Archipelago.

Pei Ju

Pei Ju (547-627), birth name Pei Shiju, courtesy name Hongda, formally Duke Jing of Anyi, was a statesman who lived in the Sui and Tang dynasties, briefly serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Gaozu of Tang. He was praised by traditional Chinese historians for his ability and lack of corruption, but blamed for flattering Emperor Yang of Sui and practically directly contributing to Sui's downfall by encouraging many external military campaigns that drained Sui's resources. Modern historians have questioned these assessments: Arthur F. Wright labelled the latter judgement in the Zizhi tongjian a "particularly blatant piece of editorializing" and "absurd ... beyond doubt".

Pei Xingyan

Pei Xingyan was a general in Sui dynasty who was known for his superior fighting skills on the battlefield. He was also a highly celebrated warrior in popular culture and traditional Chinese dramas.


The piri is a Korean double reed instrument, used in both the folk and classical (court) music of Korea. It is made of bamboo. Its large reed and cylindrical bore gives it a sound mellower than that of many other types of oboe.

In the typical piri, there are eight finger holes on the bamboo body. Seven of the finger holes are on the front and one is on the back for the thumb. There are four types of piri:

Hyang piri (hangul: 향피리; hanja: 鄕--)

Se piri (hangul: 세피리; hanja: 細--)

Dang piri (hangul: 당피리; hanja: 唐--)

Dae piri (대피리)There are different types of piris because each is suited for a different type of music and use. The Hyang piri is the longest and most common out of all piris. Because of its loud and nasal tone, it usually plays the main melody in an ensemble. The se piri is the smaller, thinner, and much quieter one. Additionally, because of its quiet tone, it is used along with voices or soft stringed instruments. The Dang/Tang piri is wider and is similar to the Chinese guanzi instrument. Additionally, the dae piri is a modernized piri, with keys and a bell, looking much more like a western oboe. Piri is thought to have been introduced to Korea from a country bordering west of China before Goguryeo period. According to the Book of Sui, piri was also known as gagwan (가관; 笳管), and it originates from Kucha. During the reign of King Yejong of Goryeo dynasty, another double-reed cylindrical instrument was imported from Song dynasty China, and to disambiguate, the former was named hyang piri and the latter dang piri. Se piri is smaller than hyang piri but has the same structure and range. Se piri appears to be invented much later than hyang piri.The piri's equivalent in China is the guan (also known as bili), and its counterpart in Japan is the hichiriki.

Tuul River

The Tuul River or Tula River (Mongolian: Туул гол, Tūl gol; in older sources also Tola) is a river in central and northern Mongolia. Sacred to the Mongols, the Tuul is generally called the Khatan (Queen) Tuul in Mongolian. It is 704 kilometres or 437 miles long and drains an area of 49,840 square kilometres or 19,240 square miles. The river is called the "Duluo river" in the Book of Sui, a Chinese historical work completed in 636 AD. The Secret History of the Mongols (1240 AD) frequently mentions a "Black Forest of the Tuul River" where the palace of Wang Khan was located. The Ming dynasty (1368–1644) was established by the progressive expulsion of the Mongol Empire from China. After capturing Beijing, the Ming's founding Hongwu Emperor defeated the Mongols at the Tula River in 1372, driving them back to the Orhon River. The following Hongwu Emperor would find it necessary to defeat the Oirats at the river Tula again in 1414.The river originates in the Khan-Khentein-Nuruu Nature Reserve in the Khentii Mountains, in the Erdene sum of Töv aimag.

From there, it travels southwest until it reaches the territory of Ulaanbaatar. Its water runs through the southern part of the capital city of Mongolia, continuing in a western direction in large loops. When it meets the border of Bulgan aimag it turns north, running along that border. After it enters Selenge aimag, it discharges into the Orkhon River near the sum center of Orkhontuul sum.The Orkhon flows into the Selenge River, which flows into Russia and Lake Baikal. The Tuul River also flows along the Khustain Nuruu National Park. It is typically frozen over from the middle of November through the middle of April. Willow forests grow along the Tuul River, and the river itself is home to endangered species of sturgeon. Currently the river is suffering from pollution, some caused by Ulaanbaatar's central sewage treatment facility, as well as heavy mineral and sedimentation pollution caused by gold mining in the Zaamar area. In addition, the steady influx of people settling near the river may be causing a degradation of water quality.

Wei Zheng

Wei Zheng (580–643), courtesy name Xuancheng, posthumously known as Duke Wenzhen of Zheng, was a Chinese politician and historian. He served as a chancellor of the Tang dynasty for about 13 years during the reign of Emperor Taizong. He was also the lead editor of the official history of the Sui dynasty, the Book of Sui, which was composed in 636.

Wei Zheng was born to a poor family in modern Hebei, and joined Li Mi's rebellion against the Sui dynasty in his youth. After Li Mi's submission to the Tang Empire, Wei Zheng became a Tang official and eventually served on the staff of Li Jiancheng, the Crown Prince and eldest son of Emperor Gaozu, the Tang dynasty's founding emperor. As such, he served against the interests of Li Jiancheng's younger brother, Li Shimin (the Prince of Qin), with whom Li Jiancheng was locked in an intense rivalry. In 626, Li Shimin ambushed and killed Li Jiancheng, and then effectively forced Emperor Gaozu to yield the throne to him. Rather than punishing Wei Zheng, however, he was impressed with Wei's faithfulness to Li Jiancheng, and he made Wei an important official, eventually a chancellor. Wei Zheng's promotion to this position gave him far broader freedom to criticise others, particularly the emperor, than other officers of the court. He emphasized propriety and opposed overextending the state. His advice and criticism were not always accepted, but in accordance with Confucian etiquette, the emperor would concede to his suggestions with some regularity.

After Wei Zheng's death in 643, the emperor commented that he was a mirror to show the mistakes of the court, and built an elaborate tomb for him near his own imperial tomb and betrothed one of his daughters, Princess Hengshan, to Wei Shuyu (魏叔玉), Wei Zheng's son. Subsequently, as a result of false accusations made by others in the court, the stone monument that Emperor Taizong had built for Wei Zheng was destroyed, and Emperor Taizong cancelled the planned marriage between Princess Hengshan and Wei Shuyu. However, after the failure of the campaign against Goguryeo in 646, Emperor Taizong, believing that Wei Zheng would have stopped him from going on the campaign had he lived longer, restored the stone monument. Wei Zheng's effect and influence has been examined by many historians long after his death. Wei Zheng is also revered as a minor god of doorways in parts of Taiwan.

Yu Huan

Yu Huan (fl. third century) was a historian of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China.

Zhang Xutuo

Zhang Xutuo, courtesy name Guo, was one of the most celebrated generals in Sui dynasty. He was best known for his achievements in suppressing rebellions and uprisings during Emperor Yang's reign.


The Zilin (Chinese: 字林; c. 350) or Forest of Characters was a Chinese dictionary compiled by the Jin dynasty (265–420) lexicographer Lü Chen (呂忱). It contained 12,824 character head entries, organized by the 540-radical system of the Shuowen Jiezi. In the history of Chinese lexicography, the Zilin followed the Shuowen Jiezi (121; with 9,353 character entries) and preceded the Yupian (c. 543; with 12,158 entries).

Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinSuí Shū
Southern Min
Hokkien POJSûi-su


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