May 31, 2016

Collection of Su Dongpo: 40 Juan, Post Collection: 20 Juan

Su Shi (1037‒1101), courtesy name Zizhan, style name Dongpo Jushi (Resident of Dongpo), born in Meishan (in present-day Sichuan) during the Northern Song, was a renowned literary scholar and one of the eight greatest masters of the Tang and Song dynasties. Both his father Su Xun (1009‒66) and his brother Su Zhe (1039‒1112) were famous literati; together they were known as Three Su. Su Shi’s scholarship was profound. He was multitalented and excelled particularly in calligraphy, painting, poetry, and prose. Su Shi, Cai Xiang (1012‒67), Huang Tingjian (1045‒1105), and Mi Fu (1051‒1107) were considered the four great calligraphers of the Song dynasty. Su Shi was especially skilled in painting bamboo, trees, and rocks, and wrote brilliantly on the theory of painting and calligraphy. His prose ranked alongside that of Ouyang Xiu (1107-72), while his poems matched those of Huang Tingjian (1045‒1105). His magnificent ci poetry, written in a bold style, is ranked with that of Xin Qiji (1140‒1207). He and Xin, known as Su-Xin, became two representatives of the Haofang school of vigorous and unrestrained style, a departure from the delicate and restrained Wanyue school. After passing the highest-level imperial examination, Su Shi attained his jinshi degree in the second year (1057) of the Jiayou reign. He held a variety of government posts, including assistant magistrate in Fuchang Xian, Henan, judge in the Court of Judicial Review, assistant to the Military Training Commission in Fengxiang Prefecture, and assistant at the Institute of History. In the second year (1079) of the Emperor Shenzong reign, when he was the prefect of Huzhou, he was accused of slandering the investigating censor and was jailed. He was exiled for three years to a military post in Huangzhou, where he built a small residence in 1081, called Dongpo (Eastern Slope), from which he took his style name. Later he was exiled again. He was recalled to the capital in the first year (1086) of the Yuanyou reign of Emperor Qizong and became a Secretariat drafter and Hanlin scholar. In the ninth year (1094) of Emperor Zhezong, he was accused of criticizing the court and was exiled again to the remote Huizhou and Danzhou (Hainan Island) but was recalled to the north once more in 1100. He died in the first year (1101) of Emperor Huizong’s reign in Changzhou on his way to the capital from his exile. Among his existing publications is Dongpo quan ji (Complete Works of Dongpo), in 115 juan. Su Shi was prolific, but tracing his collected works is difficult. Even during his lifetime there had already been six collections published: Dongpo ji (Works of Su Dongpo) in 40 juan, which he compiled, Hou ji (Post collection) in 20 juan, Nei zhi ji (Inner collection) in 10 juan, Wai zhi ji (Outer collection) in three juan, Zou yi (Memorials) in 15 juan, and He Tao ji (Responding to Tao Yuanming) in four juan.

Ci Poetry by Jiaxuan: 12 Juan

Xin Qiji (1140‒1207), courtesy name You’an, style name Jiaxuan, a native of Licheng Xian, Jinan Prefecture, Shandong Donglu (present-day Licheng Qu, Jinan, Shandong), was a famed Southern Song ci poet and was jointly known, with Su Shi (1037‒1101), as Su-Xin. The subjects of Xin’s poetry span a wide range of topics. He skillfully employed many allusions in his poems. The styles of his ci poetry varied, from brave, unrestrained, and heroic to exquisite, gentle, and charming. The main characteristics throughout his work are his patriotic passion fired by the hope of restoring China’s unity and his sorrow and indignation that his great aspirations were difficult to fulfill. He also wrote a number of poems that recite the names of rivers and mountains of his motherland. Jiaxuan chang duan ju (Ci poetry by Jiaxuan) has been handed down from generation to generation. More than 600 of his poems remain in existence. Presented here is a print edition published by Guangxin Shuyuan in Qianshan in the third year (1299) of the Dade reign of Yuan dynasty. It contains 573 of Xin’s poems in 12 juan. It is typeset in the running writing script style (semi-cursive), characterized by fluttering and dancing strokes and mellow and exquisite characters, sparse and pleasing to the eye. It is unique, the only surviving copy of the edition. It is also an artistic treasure of Yuan book printing.