Book of Rites as Arranged by Subject


This work was compiled by Li Jinglun (1507–57), a scholar with a first-rank degree at the county-level civil examination, who later devoted himself to writing and prided himself on his knowledge of li xue (rationalistic philosophy influenced by Confucianism). Based on Li jing (Book of rites), one of five classics of the Confucian canon, and on all traditional forms that provide a standard of either ceremonial conduct or rules of conduct, Li here expounded his theory that there were three principles, yi, qu and guan. Yi means the rituals or rites, qu means everyday etiquette, and guan the systems of the court. These three, combined into one, were discussed in his other work, San li kao zhu (Annotated three principles). Here, however, he deals with each principle separately. In the 36th year (1557) of Emperor Jiajing’s reign, there was great unrest in the southeastern part of China, mostly caused by rebels and pirates, including Japanese ones. Li Jinglun believed that the military leaders were incompetent, so he presented seven proposals, but they were ignored. He died of sunstroke in Guixi at the age of 51. The preface, dated 1541, was written by the compiler himself. The book has several seal impressions, including that of Wang Yirong (1845–1900), a late-Qing member of the Hanlin Academy and a book collector.

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30 juan in 10 volumes

Last updated: January 3, 2018