Annotations to the Book of Songs: 20 Juan


Shi jing is a poetic song collection from the pre-Qin period of China. As Confucius edited and arranged the songs, it became one of the six Confucius classics. During the early Western Han (206 BCE‒8 CE) there were three different traditions of transmission of the text, called “the three-school poetry.” They were the tradition of Yan, the transmission of which is credited to Han Ying (floreat circa 175 BCE); Qi, credited to Yuan Gu (floreat circa 150 BCE); and Lu, credited to Shen Pei (floreat circa 200 BCE). There was a fourth tradition, called Mao shi (Mao’s Book of Songs), which is associated with Mao Heng and Mao Chang of Hebei. Mao Heng wrote commentary for Shi jing and was the author of Mao shi gu xun zhuan (Exegesis on the Book of Songs), and Mao Chang wrote the preface, which was known as the “Great Preface” of Mao shi.  Zheng Xuan (127‒200) during the Eastern Han (25‒220) and Kong Yingda (574‒648) in the early Tang provided annotations, which were combined and published during the Tang dynasty under the title Mao shi zheng yi (The meanings of Mao’s Book of Songs). Su Zhe (1039‒1112) of the Northern Song reinterpreted with his annotations, the 20-juan Shi ji zhuan (Annotations to the Book of Songs). After reading the ”Minor Preface” to the Book of Songs, he found the text repetitive, and was of the view that it might not have been written by one person. He thus kept the beginning section and took out the rest of the preface, and provided annotations to missing and erroneous parts, which were not limited to the preface. This copy was published, in an exquisite printing, in the seventh year (1180) of the Chunxi reign of Southern Song, by his great-grandson Su Xu at the government office in Yunzhou. In the late Ming it was held in the Jiguge Collection of the Mao family, after which it was held and treasured in the inner court of Qing before entering the collections of the National Library of China

Last updated: June 2, 2016