An Anthology of Early Works with Comparisons and Analyses


The author of this work, Chen Yumo (1548‒1618), a scholar and official, worked as an instructor at the Directorate of Education, as a surveillance commissioner in Sichuan, and as a provincial administration commissioner in Guizhou Province. Presented here is his Pian zhi (An anthology of early works with comparisons and analyses) in an edition from the Wanli reign (1573‒1620). It is a collection of early works on similar subjects, for which Chen Yumo provided comparative analyses. Included in the work are examples of the writing of Zhang Heng (78‒139 BC), a Chinese astronomer, mathematician, geographer, and literary scholar of the Eastern Han dynasty. Among Zhang Heng’s inventions were the water-powered armillary sphere to represent astronomical observation, the water clock, and the world’s first seismometer, which is discussed in this collection. Another author represented is Tao Hongjing (456‒536), a Daoist master and pharmacologist, who wrote about the celestial globe and the star map. Other subjects covered by different authors include the inscription on a bath bowl of an ancient king named Tang; the inscription on a bath bowl of King Wu; and Huangdi, the legendary Yellow Emperor. The author’s preface is dated 1606. This copy has a number of seal impressions, including one that reads: Quyang Zhang shi jia cang (In the Collection of Zhang Family of Quyang). The Library of Congress also has Chen Yumo’s other work, Si shu ming wu kao (A survey of famous classics in the Four Books).

Last updated: January 10, 2018