Reflections on the Great Plan: 12 Juan


Presented here is the complete text of Hong fan zheng jian (Reflections on the great plan), a manuscript dated to the 13th year (1186) of the Chunxi era of Southern Song. The work was written in the first year (1040) of the Kangding era by Zhao Zhen (1010‒63), a Song emperor of China Renzong, who reigned 1022‒63. The author draws an analogy between natural phenomena, the words and deeds of the rulers, and the rise and decline of dynasties. He expresses his belief that changes in the yin and yang of heaven and earth, successions of the five elements, and strange celestial appearances were warnings about the behavior and political achievements of rulers, which thus set standards for the actions and deeds of emperors and taught ministers and subjects to stand in awe and to show reverence for their rulers. Only then could the goal of protecting and stabilizing the country of China be achieved. After the end of Northern Song in 1127, the manuscript was lost. In the third year (1129) of the Jianyan era of Southern Song, Emperor Gaozong (ruled 1127‒62) ordered a search for it. It was not found until the 13th year (1186) of the Chunxi era of Emperor Xiaozong. A decree was then issued for the Imperial Archives to copy the manuscript for the imperial court; the resulting edition is in 12 juan, with each juan in two parts. The taboo words, such as shen, were observed in the text by eliminating the last stroke of the character. The taboo word dun was an exception, which indicates that this copy dates from the reign of Emperor Xiaozong. Included in the book are impressions of seals of the imperial court, such as Nei dian wen xi (Documents and Seals of the Inner Court), Yu fu tu shu (Books of the Imperial Court), and Jixidian shu ji yin (Books of Jixi Hall), and so forth, an indication that it was held in the Song imperial collection. The text is written on superior bark paper, and the borders are painted red. The format is neat and spacious. The manuscript has yellow brocade backing and is bound in accordion format, all displaying the imperial style. Song imperial manuscripts are extremely rare, and this edition of the work is of very significant historical value.

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Publication Information

Court of the Southern Song Dynasty, Lin'an, Zhejiang


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Physical Description

12 juan : accordian bound ; 22.4 x 16 centimeters

Last updated: April 14, 2017