The Shishuo xinyu 世説新語 expounds the need for mastery of the cultural values constituting the foundations of the ver y existence of the authentic aristocrats at the time, as opposed to the aristocracy who formed part of the statesanctioned class system that was established during the Western Jin as a result of the introduction of a system of five grades of nobles in the late Cao Wei. These cultural values were specifically Confucianism and character evaluations, which formed the basic education of aristocrats, as well as the study of various other disciplines. Furthermore, the content of these values was encapsulated in the chapter titles of the Shishuo xinyu, which drew on the four subjects or disciplines mentioned in the Lunyu 論語, and it was shown that Confucianism lay at the root of not only the aristocracy but also Chinese culture. On the basis of this general learning, the Shishuo xinyu also affirmed the way in which the aristocrats from the north, in order to maintain their independence from power, which could act as a reason for superiority, entrusted practical affairs to lowly men of the south, applied themselves to “pure conversation” (qingtan 清談), and protected local influential families through closed marital relationships. Unlike the Yanshi jiaxun 顔氏家訓, the Shishuo xinyu is not a work that reexamines the aristocracy’s original mode of being. Rather, it is an educational work the aim of which was to actively af firm the aristocracy of the Liu Song period and pass on the culture lying at the root of its very existence. By compiling the Shishuo xinyu under the aegis of the imperial household, Liu Yiqing 劉義慶 aimed to provide a general summar y of the aristocrats’ mode of being. In addition, his staff, who actually wrote it, also intended for it to become a work prescribing the mode of being of aristocrats so as to preserve the aristocracy in the Liu Song too. These were the aims behind the compilation of the Shishuo xinyu.