Get Leipian essential facts below. View Videos or join the Leipian discussion. Add Leipian to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.

Sima Guang of Song.jpg
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Literal meaningcategorized chapters
Korean name
Japanese name

The (1066) Leipian is a Chinese dictionary compiled by Song dynasty (960-1279) lexicographers under the supervision of chancellor Sima Guang. It contains 31,319 character head entries, more than twice as many as the 12,158 in the (c. 543) Yupian, and included many new characters created during the Tang (618-907) and Song dynasties. Leipian entries are arranged by a 544-radical system adapted from the 540 radicals of the classic (121) Shuowen Jiezi.


The dictionary title combines two common Chinese words: lèi ? " category; kind; type; class" and pi?n ? "piece of writing; sheet (of paper); chapter". Pi?n ?, written with the "bamboo radical" ? and bi?n ? "flat" phonetic, originally meant "bamboo slip (for writing)", comparable with bi?n ? "weave; organize; compile" with the "silk radical" ?--seen in the (1726) Pianzi leipian ? "Classified Collection of Phrases and Literary Allusions" dictionary title (Needham et. al 1986: 219).

English translations include Dictionary of Character Sounds (Needham and Wang 1954), Collection of Categorized Characters (Zhou and Zhang 2003), The Classified Chapters (Yong and Peng 2008), and The Categories Book (Theobald 2010).

The Leipian text consists of 15 books (?), each subdivided into 3 parts, for a total of 45 volumes (?). The 31,319 character head entries are organized by a 544-radical system (Yip 2000: 19). Each entry gives the character in Small Seal Script (following the Shuowen jiezi format), the pronunciation in the fanqie system, definition, and exegesis. The Leipian also notes variant characters, alternate pronunciations, and multiple meanings.


Emperor Renzong of Song (r. 1022-1063) commissioned the Leipian character dictionary project in 1039 and it was completed in 1066. There were four chief editors, three of whom died before completing the dictionary: Wang Zhu (997-1057), Hu Xiu (995-1067), Zhang Cili (1010-1063), and Fan Zhen (1007-1088).

Emperor Renzong also ordered the compilation of the (1037) Jiyun, which was a phonologically arranged rime dictionary intended to complement the Leipian character dictionary. The Leipian Preface (tr. Yong and Peng 2008: 190) says all phonetically related characters are included in the Jiyun while all formally related ones are included in the Leipian.

The historian and chancellor Sima Guang (1019-1086) carried out the final editing on the expanded Jiyun and the Leipian, and in 1067, he submitted the printed versions of both dictionaries to Emperor Yingzong of Song (r. 1063-1067). At that time, the Jiyun and Leipian were the most complete reference works in the history of Chinese lexicography.


  • Needham, Joseph, and Wang Ling (1954), Science and Civilisation in China, Volume 1 Introductory Orientations, Cambridge University Press.
  • Needham, Joseph, Lu Gwei-djen, and Huang Hsing-Tsung (1986), Science and Civilisation in China, Volume 6 Biology and Biological Technology, Part 1: Botany, Cambridge University Press.
  • Yip, Po-ching (2000), The Chinese Lexicon: A Comprehensive Survey, Psychology Press.
  • Yong, Heming and Jing Peng (2008), Chinese Lexicography: A History from 1046 BC to AD 1911, Oxford University Press.
  • Zhou Youguang (2003), The Historical Evolution of Chinese Languages and Scripts, tr. by Zhang Liqing National East Asian Languages Resource Center, Ohio State University.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes