Guangchuan Book Postscripts: 10 Juan


Guangchuan shu ba (Guangchuan book postscripts) was written by Dong You. Dong You (whose dates of birth and death are unknown), courtesy name Yanyuan, was a native of Dongping (in present-day Shandong). During the Zhenghe era (1111‒18) of Emperor Huizong of Southern Song, he was appointed as an attendant at Huiyouge, the imperial library. Guangchuan (in present-day Hebei) in the title was the place from which his prominent family originated and which he used almost as a style name. A connoisseur of painting, calligraphy, and epigraphy, Dong You wrote several works, including Guangchuan cang shu zhi (Records of books held by Guangchuan), Guangchuan shi gu (The classic account of poetry by Guangchuan), Guangchuan hua ba (Postscripts to paintings by Guangchuan), and this work. Among the works on studying and explaining Southern Song inscriptions, these last two were especially well received and highly recommended through many generations. Guangchuan shu ba is Dong’s work on Chinese bronze, jade, and stone tablet inscriptions, with his critical comments on the appreciation of these inscriptions. The first five juan deal with the inscriptions on bronze bells, vessels, and stone, dating from the pre-Qin up to the Han. The second five juan deal with inscriptions from the Wei, Jin, Northern and Southern Dynasties, Sui, up to the Tang, and Northern Song. Dong’s work has a total of 226 examples. As this work was issued at an early date, many of the inscriptions recorded in it are no longer in existence. Thus it has high value for having preserved historical resources that are otherwise lost. Dong You’s discourses are precise and appropriate. He discusses every aspect of research on bronze bells and vessel inscriptions, the authentication of stele inscriptions, and the evolvement of calligraphic styles. Guangchuan shu ba is an important work for connoisseurship in the history of Chinese art.

Last updated: August 31, 2017