May 31, 2016

Interpretation of the Book of Rites: 70 Juan

Li ji zheng yi (Interpretation of the Book of Rites), issued in 70 juan, and compiled by Kong Yingda and others, was a revised Song-Yuan edition by Huang Tang of Sanshan, an official at the Tea and Salt Office of Liangzhedong Lu Circuit during the Southern Song. It was held in the collection of Jia Sidao (1213‒75), Southern Song emperor Lizong’s chancellor, and has a seal impression bearing Jia’s style name, Qiuhe tu shu (Qiuhe’s books). In the early Qing, it was held in the collections of Sun Chengze (1592‒1676) and Ji Zhenyi (1630‒74). When Ji’s books were scattered, it was purchased by Wu Yongyi, style name Zhuo’an or Zhuo’an Xingren, for his library, named Huangchuan Shuwu. It later was acquired by the Kong family of Qufu. Consequently, this book bears multiple seal impressions reflecting its long history of owners. Among the seals are: Beiping Sun shi (Sun family of Beiping), Ji yin Zhenyi (Seal of Ji Zhenyi), Ji Zhenyi zi Shenxi hao Cangwei (Ji Zhenyi, courtesy name Shenxi, style name Cangwei), and Cangwei, Yu shi zhi zhang (Seal of the Investigating Censor). It also includes seals of Hui Dong (a Qing scholar, 1697‒1758) and Dingyu (Hui Dong’s courtesy name); Kong Jihan (1739‒83) and Qiaomeng (Kong Jihan’s courtesy name); Wanyan Jingxian jing jian (Appreciated by Wanyan Jingjian), Xianxitang jian ding (Appraised by Xianxitang), Xiaoru’an mi ji (Xiaoru’an’s secret book collection), Wanyan Jingxian zi Xiangfu hao Pusun yi zi Renzhai bie hao Xiaoru’an yin (Seal of Wanyan Jingxian, courtesy name Xiangfu, style name Pusun, other courtesy name Renzhai, other style name Xiaoru’an), and some of his other seals, such as Jing xing wei xian and Jin zhang shi xi Jing xing wei xian (two of Wanyan’s seals). There are six seals of the qu dramatist Yuan Kewen (1890‒1931): Yuan Kewen, Kewen, Yuan, Ningsong, Ren jian gu ben and Hanyun Miji zhen cang zhi yin (Seal of the Hanyun Miji treasures). Short of money a few years later, Yuan Kewen was compelled to sell this copy to Pan Zongzhou (1867‒1939), who had just finished the building of his private library and was overjoyed to make the acquisition. He named his library Baolitang (Treasure Hall) to express how much he valued the book. Zhang Yuanji (1867‒1959), the famed publisher, educator and philologist, listed this title in his work Baolitang Song ben shu lu (Catalog of Song rare books in the Baolitang Library) under the heading of classics. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Pan Shizi of the Pan family donated the book to the nation. It is now in the National Library of China.

Commentary of the Songs of Chu: 8 Juan, Dialectics of the Songs of Chu: 2 Juan, Words after the Songs of Chu: 6 Juan

Chu ci ji zhu (Commentary of the songs of Chu) includes Chu ci ji zhu, Bian zheng (Dialectics of the songs of Chu), and Hou yu (Words after the songs of Chu). Collected by the late Western Han scholar Liu Xiang (77‒6 BCE), it contains a total of 16 works, including Li sao (Sorrow after the departing), Jiu ge (Nine songs), Tian wen (Asking heaven) and Jiu zhang (Nine elegies) by poet Qu Yuan (circa 340-278 BCE); and other works written in the Chu ci style, by Song Yu (circa 319‒298 BCE), Jing Cha, Jia Yi, Huainan Xiaoshan, and others. During the Eastern Han, Wang Yi added his own elegy Jiu si (Nine longings) and two prefaces by Ban Gu, with his commentary, and thus it became 17 juan. During the Northern Song, Hong Xingzu (1090‒1155) compiled Chu ci bu zhu (Supplementary notes to Chu ci). Zhu Xi (1130‒1200) of the Southern Song also wrote commentary on Chu ci, as well as Bian zheng (Dialectics), to correct errors in the old commentaries. He also added Hou yu (Words after the songs of Chu), based on Xu Chu ci (Continuation of the Chu ci) and Bian Li sao (Changing Li sao) by Chao Buzhi. In addition, he collected 52 works, written in the Chu ci style, by authors from Xun Qing of the Han to Lü Dalin of the Northern Song. This copy is a printed edition of the Duanping reign (1234‒36) of the Southern Song, including all three parts in one single work. According to the postscript written by Zhu Jian, the grandson of Zhu Xi, in the second year (1235) of the Duanping reign, one of the works, Fan Li sao (Against Li sao), was taken out of the commentary, and two works, Diao Qu Yuan (Lament for Qu Yuan) and Fu fu (Ode to Fu), were taken out of Hou yu. The book was printed in Xingguo Jun (in present-day Hubei). Scholar Zheng Zhenduo (1898‒1958) considered it the earliest and the most complete printed edition. The work was originally held in Haiyuange, the private library of the Yang family. It is now in the National Library of China. 

Collected Works of Tao Yuanming: 10 Juan

Tao Yuanming (circa 372‒427), also called Tao Qian, courtesy name Yuanliang, born in Xunyang Caisang (near present-day Jiujiang, Jiangxi), was a great poet who lived during the Eastern Jin (317‒420) and Liu Song (420‒79) of the Northern and Southern dynasties (420‒589). This is the earliest edition of Tao Yuanmin ji. Book catalogs, such as Zhizhai shu lu jie ti (Catalog with explanations of books in Zhizhai Studio), Junzhai du shu zhi (Records of books read at Junzhai Studio), and Wen xian tong kao. Jing ji men (Comprehensive investigations of literary sources and documents: Bibliographic chapter) all listed this work. The copy was handed down by famous book collectors from one to another, including Wen Peng and Mao Jin’s publishing house, Jiguge, during the Ming dynasty, and Huang Pilie, Wang Shizhong, and Yang Yizeng’s private library, Haiyuange, during the Qing. Consequently, an array of seal impressions of collectors is found in the book. Among the Ming seals are Wen Peng zhi yin (Seal of Wen Peng), Jigu zhu ren (Owner of Jiguge); among the Qing are Bai song yi chan (100 Song books in one house, name of one of Huang Pilie’s studios), Tao Tao shi (The name of another studio of Huang Pilie), Langyuan fu (Wang Shizhong’s style name), Yang Shaohe du guo (Read by Yang Shaohe), Songcun shushi (another of Yang Shaohe’s seals), and others. Huang Pilie (1763‒1825) was a famed Qing bibliophile. He placed this book, together with Tao’s poetry collection annotated by Tang Han, in his Tao Tao Studio, and attached a handwritten inscription which reads: “Number one book of Jingjie ji (Collection of Jingjie, Tao’s posthumous name) at Tao Tao Studio.” In 1952 book collector Zhou Shutao (1891‒1984) donated this book to the National Library of China.

Collected Poems by Meng Haoran: 3 Juan

Meng Haoran shi ji (Collected poems by Meng Haoran) is by a Tang dynasty poet Meng Haoran (689‒740). His given name is unknown, although Hao has been suggested. Haoran was his courtesy name. Born in Xiangyang, Xiangzhou (present-day Xiangyang, Hubei), he also was known as Meng Xiangyang. Living during the High Tang period, Meng Haoran was not successful in pursuing an official career and throughout his life mostly lived as a recluse in his birthplace. Most of his poetry consists of five-word poems. The subject of the poems is mainly landscapes, pastorals, enjoyment of a reclusive life, and lyrics on the mood of official travel. His style is plain and natural. He and Wang Wei (701‒61), another major Tang poet, were jointly known as Wang-Meng. Both were representatives of the school of landscape and pastoral poetry. Meng Haoran’s poetry was printed in various editions. As one of the series of Tang liu shi jia ji (Collected works of 60 Tang poets), this edition is the earliest compilation printed in Sichuan during the Song dynasty. It contains 214 poems in three juan.

Collected Works of Wang Mojie: 10 Juan

Wang Mojie wen ji (Collected Works of Wang Mojie) is a collection of poetry and prose by Wang Wei, a renowned Tang poet. Wang Wei (701‒61), courtesy name Mojie, was from a prominent family of Qixian, Shanxi. He followed his father to Puzhou (west of present-day Yongji, Shanxi), settled there and became a resident of the east side of the Yellow River. In the ninth year (721) of the Kaiyuan reign of Tang he passed the highest level imperial examinations. He was given official posts, including as deputy master of music at the Imperial Music Office. Later he became an advisory official, assistant censor, and administrative assistant to the local military commander of Hexi. During the Tianbao reign (742‒56) he served at the Ministry of Personnel as a supervisory official with the titles of Langzhong and Jishizhong. When An Lushan and his rebel forces sacked the city of Chang’an, Wang was captured, taken to Luoyang, and forced to take up an official post. After the An Lushan rebellion was suppressed, during the Qianyuan reign (758‒60), Emperor Suzong restored Wang to his old position. He also was given the teaching position at the court of the Crown Prince. His last position was as deputy prime minister, thus he was also known as Deputy Prime Minister Wang. Wang Wei was multitalented and excelled in poetry and prose, painting and calligraphy, and music. His poetry is refreshing, elegant, and in various styles. Wang and Meng Haoran (689‒740) were commonly referred to as Wang-Meng. Both were representatives of the landscape school of poetry during the high Tang era. His landscape poems depict the beauty of nature in leisurely and quiet taste. His artistic excellence is revered by later generations. Su Shi (1037‒1101) of the Northern Song claimed, in his Shu Mojie lan tian yan yu tu (On Mojie’s painting of Lantian in the mist and rain), that “reading Mojie’s poetry, I see painting within poetry. Looking at his painting you see poetry within painting.” In Xu Yanzhou shi hua (Poetic history by Xu Yanzhou) Xu Kai of the Song wrote that he considered the poems of Meng Haoran and Wang Mojie “of the first rank after Li Bai and Du Fu,” both of whom praised Wang Wei’s poetry highly. Wang was a devotee of Buddhism. He modeled himself on the Mahayana Buddhist figure Weimojie (Vimalakirtinirdesa, which means a pure and unblemished person), and thus took up Mojie as his courtesy name. His works were collected and arranged by his younger brother Wang Jin; they consist of more than 400 poems and prose in 10 juan. In the Song dynasty, works of Tang authors in Sichuan frequently were reprinted, most of them derived from ancient editions. Few copies have survived, so those that did are rare and much sought by book collectors. According to Zhongguo ban ke tu lu (Illustrated catalog of Chinese block-printed editions), the Sichuan Tang collections traditionally had either 11 or 12 columns per page. The 11-column Sichuan editions were called Northern Song printed books, even though they were printed between the periods of the Northern and Southern Song. The three extant collections are Li Taibai wen ji (Collected works of Li Bai), Lu Binwang wen ji (Collected works of Lu Binwang), and this title. Among the existing collected works of Wang Wei, this is the oldest, and its research value is inestimable.

Collected Works by Mr. Hedong: 45 Juan, Outer Collection: 2 Juan

Hedong xian sheng ji (Collected Works by Mr. Hedong) contains the work of famed Tang writer and poet Liu Zongyuan (773‒819). The engraving of the text of this 13th century book is superb. The paper looks lustrous and the ink seems moist, with the charm of the work undiminished. Its exquisite quality is without equal. Hedong xian sheng ji was compiled by Liu Yuxi (772-842), a Tang poet, philosopher, and essayist, and printed during the reign of Xianchun (1265‒74) of the Southern Song, under the supervision of publisher Liao Yingzhong who was also the editor. This copy lacked juan 3‒5 and 10 and these were replaced with a Ming facsimile copy of the Song edition with the same script style, followed by a postscript by Zhu Yizun (1629‒1709). There are nine columns on each page, with each column containing 17 characters and smaller characters in double lines. The center column of each leaf bears a narrow width marker, called hei kou (black mouth), and each page has a double-lined frame. On the upper portion of the center column is the number of characters, and at the bottom, under the fishtail-shaped marker, is the three-character name of the publishing house, Shicaitang, and the name of the printer. At the end of each juan is a two-line printer’s colophon, in seal or clerical script, which reads: “Printed at Shicai by Liao.” The shape of the printer’s colophons varies. The printers included Sun Yuan, Qian Gong, Weng Shou, Yuan Qing, Cong Shan, Tong Fu, Li Wen, and Feng Yizhi. These names can be found in two compilations, this one by Liu Zongyuan and the other by Han Yu (768‒824), so it can be assumed that Liao Yingzhong published these two excellent collections at Shicaitang at the same time. The Song dynasty taboo words, such as 慎 shen, 敦 dun, and 廓 kuo, were strictly avoided by skipping the last stroke in the character. The writing styles varied between those of calligrapher Zhu Suiliang (596‒658) and Liu Zongyuan. This work was repeatedly reprinted by later generations. Pan Zongzhou (1867‒1939), owner of the Baolitang studio, only learned from historical documents about the Song edition of Hedong xian sheng ji printed by Liao Yingzhong, and he set his heart on acquiring it. This book was at one time held in Wanjuantang, the library of the Xiang family of Ming. During the Qing dynasty, it came into the collection of Song Luo and was held in his library, named Weisu Caotang. More recently it was held in Pan Zongzhou’s Baolitang, before it came into the collections of the National Library of China. The seal impressions in the book illustrate the provenance of its ownership, such as Xiang Yuanbian yin (Seal of Xiang Yuanbian), Xiang Dushou yin (Seal of Xiang Dushou), Xiang Zijing jia cang (Held by the family of Xiang Zijing), Molin Shanren (Style name of Xiang Yuanbian), Xiang Molin jian shang yin (Seal of Xiang Molin’s appreciation), Xiang Meolin fu mi ji zhi yin (Seal of Xiang Molin’s secret collection), Xiang shi Wanjuantang tu ji yin (Seal of books in Wanjuantang of the Xiang family), and Tianlaige (Hall of Heavenly Sound, one of Xiang’s buildings). Other seals include those of Song Luo, such as Shangqiu Song Luo shou cang shan ben (Rare books collected by Song Luo of Shangqiu), Muweng jian ding (Appreciated by Muweng), Weisu Caotang cang shu yin (Seal of the Weisu Caotang collection). The collections of Han Yu and Liu Zongyuan, printed by Liao Yingzhong, have been passed down through generations to the present. They are the only existing copies and are of extreme value.