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Written Records
Qinshu Daquan Folio 16 (V/346 - 373) 1

(This folio has 66 entries [but none from Shanhai Jing]. The earliest, in particular, usually mention qin se together. Now we know of the qin as a seven-string [by convention formerly five-string] zither with one fixed bridge, and the se as a 26 string zither with movable bridges. Because the translations cited here refer to qin and se in such a variety of ways, I generally change these back to the original "qin" and/or "se". But because so many of the earliest writings mention them exclusively as a pair, and to the exclusion of other instrument names, perhaps in some cases this should be "qin se", meaning simply "stringed instruments" or zithers. )

  1. 尚書 Shang Shu: Venerated Documents (V/346)
    Also called 書經 Shu Jing (Book of Documents), it is the earliest compilation of historical documents, one of three documents said the date from Western Zhou (12th - 6th c. BCE). The other two are the 易經 Yi Jing, which does not mention the qin, and the Book of Songs (see #3 below). About half of the existing Shang Shu is said to be a forgery from about the 4th c. CE. I don't know if this short excerpt is from that part. The first English translation of Shang Shu was James Legge, The Chinese Classics, Vol.III. The Shoo King (bi-lingual; SMC Taipei reprint). The passage below (ibid., p.87) is followed (ibid., p.88) by the passage (later used as a
    qin melody title), "When the nine parts of the service according to the emperor's arrangements have all been performed the male and female phoenix come with their measured gambollings into the court." (簫韶九成,鳳凰來儀 Xiaoshao Jiucheng, Fenghuang Lai Yi).

  2. 尚書大傳 Shang Shu Da Zhuan: Major Tradition of the Venerated Documents (V/346)
    7654.71 a book existing only in fragments; compiled by 伏勝 (or 伏生) Fu Sheng (former Han).
    It is quoted in
    YFSJ. Here, one short reference:

  3. 毛詩 Mao edition of the Book of Songs (詩經 Shi Jing; V/346)
    (This is every poem that mentions the qin; all but the last also mention the se [see qin se];
    in addition, three poems mention the se without the qin: #115, #126 and #161)

  4. 禮記 Li Ji: Book of Rites (compare related titles;2 V/346)
    At front, three sub-headings, 既祥彈琴, 除喪彈琴 and 五絃南風; the actual selections are as follows (references are to online original text and Legge translation, here edited):

  5. 周禮 Zhou Li: Rites of Zhou (V/346-7)
    Zhou Li outlines the supposed structure of the state of Zhou
    (until 劉歆 Liu Xin, 46 BCE - 23 CE, Zhou Li was called 周官 Zhou Guan)

    (See 天官冢宰 Tianguan zhonggong; bracketed text added from 102)....孤竹之管,云和之琴瑟,(《云門》之舞;)冬日至,於地上之圜丘奏之,(若樂六變,則天神皆降,可得而禮矣。凡樂,函鐘為宮,大蔟為角,姑洗為徵,南呂為羽,靈鼓靈鼗,)孫竹之管,空桑之琴瑟,(《咸池》之舞;)夏日至,於澤中之方丘奏之,(若樂八變,則地示皆出,可得而禮矣。凡樂,黃鐘為宮,大呂為角,大蔟為徵,應鐘為羽,路鼓路鼗,)陰竹之管,龍門之琴瑟,《九德》之歌,《九韶》之舞;於宗廟之中奏之,

  6. 左傳 Zuo Zhuan Zuo's Commentary (on the Spring and Autumn Annals; V/347)
    Attrib. 左丘明 Zuo Qiuming aka Zuoqiu Ming, 5th c. BCE;
    Seven selections; translation: Legge, The Chinese Classics, Vol. V. The Chun Ts'ew with the Tso Chuen).

  7. 國語 Guo Yu: Discourses of the States (V/347)
    Attrib. 左丘明 Zuo Qiuming or Zuoqiu Ming (see #6 above; perhaps it was connected to the Zuo Zhuan); compiled later Wei Zhao, 204 -273?).

    琴瑟尚官 (qin se shang guan)

  8. 史記 Shi Ji: Records of the Grand Historian4 (V/347-9)
    Six selections excerpted from the following annals in this earliest history of China (ZHSJ = Zhonghua Shuju edition)

  9. 十二國史 Shi'er Guo Shi: Histories of the 12 States (V/349)
    2741.99: 12 states of the Warring States period (nothing about a book). Five selections:

  10. 吳越春秋 Wu Yue Chunqiu: Annals of Wu and Yue (V/350)
    Compare the text here with that of the chapter on 勾踐伐吳外傳
    Gou Jian Attacks Wu, the 21st Year of Goujian #32, in the Chinese Text Project5. The passage, which concerns events after Yue had defeated Wu, begins,

  11. 西漢書 History of the Western Han (V/350)

  12. 十六國春秋 Annals of the 16 Kingdoms (V/350)
    2741.250 Book in 100 folios originally by 魏崔鴻 Cui Hong (d. 525; Bio/2164)

  13. 家語 Jiayu (孔子家語 Household Tales of Confucius; details at www.chinaknowledge.org; V/350-1)
    Compiled by 王肅 Wang Su (195 - 256); six selections from four books

  14. 孟子 Mengzi (Mencius,6 V/351)
    Two selections

  15. 列子 Liezi (V/351-2)
    Four selections

  16. 文子 Wenzi (V/352)
    13766.8/2 Book in two folios said to date from time of Confucius

  17. 莊子 Zhuangzi (V/352-3)
    Six selections

  18. 呂氏春秋 Lüshi Chunqiu (V/354)
    Translated in Knoblock and Riegel, The Annals of Lü Buwei, pp.134 and 146. The Qinshu Daquan entry begins, "仲夏紀昔古朱襄氏...."; in other words, although it says it is quoting 仲夏紀 Zhongxia Ji (5/1.2: Almanac for the Second Month of Summer), it actually quotes 古樂 Gu Yue (5/5.2: Music of the Ancients). Information on both entries is as follows:

  19. 桓譚,新論 Huan Tan, Xin Lun (New Discourses; V/354)
    See also #35: both are subtitled 雍門鼓琴 Yongmen plays qin, but Yongmen himself is mentioned only in #35)

  20. 世本 Shi Ben: Basics of Hereditary Lines (V/354)
    Liu Xiang (? see also #33 and #34 below); mostly lost (see also YFSJ).

  21. 帝王世紀 Di Wang Shiji: Record of the Lives of Emperors and Kings (V/354)
    9064.17 A book in one folio compiled by 皇甫謐 Huangfu Mi (215 - 282), apparently from earlier sources

  22. 琴始錄 Qin Shi Lu: Record of the Beginnings of the Qin (V/354)

  23. 燕丹子 Yan Danzi (V/354-5)
    19876.31 Book by unknown author in three folios; concerns Dan (see Giles), Crown Prince of Yan (d.226 BCE)

  24. 韓非子 Hanfeizi (V/355-6)
    Han Fei: c. 280 - 233 BCE; five selections

  25. 楊子 Yangzi (V/356)
    Yangzi is Yang Zhu (15489.184 楊朱, style name 子居 Ziju; also a chapter of 列子 Liezi). NFI. Two short selections.

    • Qin, se and 簫韶 Xiaoshao music
    • Qin and se

  26. 荀子 Xunzi 7 (V/356)
    Seven selections from five books; translated by John Knoblock.

  27. 孔叢子 Kong Congzi (V/356)
    7077.331 Falsely attributed to 孔鮒 Kong Fu (ca. 264 - 208), an eighth generation descendant of Confucius
    Actual date uncertain; two passages

  28. 劉子 Liuzi (V/356-7)
    2270.29 A book also called 新論 Xin Lun, 10 folios, author unknown; three selections

  29. 淮南子 Huainanzi (V/357)
    A book of 21 essays written at the court of
    Liu An; nine selections from six chapters

  30. 文中子 Wen Zhongzi (V/357-8)
    Wen Zhongzi is
    Wang Tong (583 - 616); two selections

  31. 韓詩外傳 Han Shi Waizhuan (V/358-9)
    Illustrations of the Didactic Application of the Classic of Songs, by 韓嬰 Han Ying (2nd c. BCE)
    44126.297: a book in 10 folios by one of the earliest commentators on the Shi Jing
    ICTCL, p.312: a guide to quoting from the Shi Jing; 13 selections

  32. 越俗外傳 Yue Su Waizhuan (V/360)
    37946.71 Yuesu: customs of Yue; no book mentioned (compare 越絕書外傳 Yue Jue Shu Waizhuan

  33. 劉向,新序 Xin Xu: New Arrangement (V/360-1)
    Compiled by
    Liu Xiang (see also #20 above and #21 below); a "newly arranged Shuo Yuan" (Knechtges)

  34. 劉向,說苑 Shuo Yuan: Extracted Discussions (V/361)
    Compiled by
    Liu Xiang (see #33 and #20 above); moral tales and political admonitions

  35. 桓譚,新論 Huan Tan, Xin Lun (New Discourses; V/361)
    #19 above also quotes Huan Tan, with Yongmen plays qin as subtitle, but it does not actually mention Yongmen

  36. 崔寔,政論 Cui Shi, Zheng Lun (V/362)
    Cui Shi (d. ca. 179 CE; 8405.168)

  37. 姚信,士緯論(士緯新書?)Yao Xin, Shi Wei Lun (Shiwei Xinshu?8) (V/362)
    Yao Xin (3rd C), A Gentleman's Appendix to the Classics (New Commentary? See below)

  38. 董仲舒,(舉賢良對)策 Dong Zhongshu, Ce (V/362)
    Dong Zhongshu (c.179 - c.104; ICTCL: famed Confucian interpreter of classics [and of omens]);
    Examining Matters with the Noble and Good (26567.xxx)

      琴瑟不調甚者必解而更長之乃可鼓也.... (Compares tuning qin se with ruling properly)

  39. 瑞應圖 Ruiying Tu (V/362)
    Sketches for Responding to Omens (? 21606.120xxx)

  40. 符瑞圖 Furui Tu (V/362)
    Sketches for Auspicious Influences (? 26541.65xxx)

  41. 蔡邕,月令章句 Cai Yong, Yueling Zhangju (V/362)
    Stanzas about Lunar Phenology

  42. 蔡邕,女訓 Cai Yong, Nü Xun (V/362)
    Admonishments for Ladies (compare with Ban Zhao's Nü Jie)

  43. 顏氏家訓 Yanshi Jiaxun (V/362)
    Household Instructions to the Yan Clan, by 顏之推 Yan Zhitui (531 - 593)

      君子無故不徹琴瑟.... A gentleman must certainly understand qin and se....

  44. 李肇,國史補 Li Zhao, Guoshi Bu (V/362)
    Li Zhao (Tang dynasty; Bio/938), Supplement to the History (of the Tang dynasty)

  45. 周益公文集 Zhou Yigong, Wenji (V/362)
    Collected Writings of Zhou Yigong (? Bio.xxx; 3597.xxx; 23498.xxx)

  46. 魏文帝與吳質書 Wei Wendi yu Wu Zhi Shu (V/362-3)
    A Letter from Wei Emperor Wendi (曹丕
    Cao Pi, 188 - 227) to Wu Zhi (177 - 230; Bio/1034)

  47. 秦嘉與妻書 Qin Jia yu Qi Shu (V/363)
    A Letter from Qin Jia (2nd c. CE; Bio/1829) to his wife 徐淑 Xu Shu

    • Playing qin and thinking of her (?)

  48. 嵇康,絕交書 Xi Kang, Jue Jiao Shu (V/363)
    Xi Kang,
    A letter breaking off relations (with Shan Tao)

  49. 杜之松,荅王績書 Du Zhisong, Da Wang Ji Shu (V/363)
    Du Zhisong (Sui/Tang official; Bio/830) responds to a letter from
    Wang Ji

  50. 王維,文集 Wang Wei, Wenji (V/363)
    Collected Writings of
    Wang Wei

  51. 範文正公與唐異處士書 Fan Wenzhenggong yu Tang Yi Chushi Shu (V/363-4)
    Letter from
    Fan Zhongyan to Tang Yi

  52. 竹樓記 Zhulou Ji (V/364)
    Bamboo Pavilion Essay (26424.333) is also called 黃岡竹樓記 Huanggang Zhulou Ji; Huanggang, also called 黃州 Huangzhou, is a city in what is now eastern Hubei province. This poetic essay was written by 王禹偁 Wang Yucheng (954 - 1001;
    Wiki), style name 元之 Yuanzhi. Wang was a noted poet and prose writer who built himself a Bamboo Pavilion in Huangzhou. The essay, for convenience arranged here in separate lines, has the phrase "宜鼓琴,琴調虛暢 an appropriate place to play the qin, with the qin melody gently rising and falling" (8/829 悠揚).

    There currently are several translations of this essay online, for example here (translating qin as "lyre") and here.

  53. 東坡文集 Dongpo Wenji (V/364-5)
    Collected Writings of
    (Su) Dongpo (1037 - 1101); seven selections (complete text)

  54. 黃裳文集 Huang Chang, Wenji (V/365-6)
    or Huang Shang? (Bio/2073 has four, two in Song dynasty; most likely is 1044 - 1130, style name 勉仲 Mianzhong)

    • Corresponding with 張得一道士 the Daoist Zhang Deyi (?) about playing qin

  55. 廣樂記 Guang Le Ji (V/366)
    ? Collection of Broad Pleasures (? 9693.308xxx; could be city name); four selections

  56. 晉阮籍樂論 Jin Ruan Ji Yue Lun (V/366)
    Music Discourse of the Jin dynasty's
    Ruan Ji

  57. 補亡,樂書 Buwang, Yue Shu (V/366-7)
    35113.1 Buwang is a nickname for 宋柳開 Liu Kai (947 - 1000; Bio/1708); two sections

  58. 陳伯葵琴說 Chen Bokui, Qin Shuo (V/367-8)
    Chen Bokui (Bio/xxx; 538.363xxx); Qin Discussions (none by a Chen)

      Long article

  59. 山陰野夫琴議 Shanyin Yefu Qin Yi (V/368-9)
    8043.499 - .501: place name, 王子猷 Wang Ziyu story; 41030.28? QSCM #75?; two selections

    • Begins: 琴者禁也 Qin means restraint
    • 夫和而鳴者謂之聲.... (long article)

  60. 吳僧文瑩,湘山野錄 Wu Monk Wen Ying, Xiangshan Yelu (V/369-70)
        Subtitle: 賀若十調
    Heruo (Bi) 10 melodies; 雷朴永泉 Lei Pu Yongquan
    Xiangshan Yelu is by the Song dynasty monk Wen Ying; three selections:

  61. 避署錄 Bi Shu Lu (V/370)
    Should be 40034.42 避暑錄話 Bi Shu Luhua, by 葉夢得
    Ye Mengde

  62. 東南記聞 Dongnanji Wen (V/370)
    14827.308, in three folios, by an unknown author; the original is lost


  63. 振古琴苑 Zhen Gu Qin Yuan (V/370-1)
    #145 in Qinshu Cunmu; see the preface in
    Folio 1, #15.

  64. 拔太古遺音 Epilogue to Taigu Yiyin (V/371)
    by 宋濂
    Song Lian

  65. 道書 Dao Shu (V/371-2)
    39843.164 "Daoist books" does not mention specific types; 22 short comments

    1. 太素三元王祝曰﹕飛飄玉輪彈琴鳴鍾。(達洞真經)
    2. 玉童彈琴....(?)
    3. 被褐懷玉帶索鼓琴是謂真人。(太霄琅書)
    4. 琴心三疊....
    5. etc.

  66. 歷代琴書目 Lidai Qinshu Mu (V/372-3)
    "List of Historical Qin Books." There seem to be 45 entries, mostly one line mentioning an old handbook. However, some entries have multiple titles, some have brief explanations, and the last entry, 12 lines long, begins with the names of books run together ("蔡逸選阮譜一卷琴指圖一卷進琴式一卷....") instead of put on separate lines; there is also some commentary, particularly at the end. The section begins,

    1. Zhuge Liang (181 - 234) of Shu, Qin Classic, 1 Folio (QSCM, #15)
    2. Dai family, Qin Handbook, 4 Folios; handcopied tablature, 2 Folios
    3. ...

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Folio 16: Written Records (記載)
Further information in the Preface. (V/...) refers to page numbers in Vol. V of Qinqu Jicheng.

2. Li Ji and other books with Li in the title
A punctuated text and Legge translation for the Record of Rites (禮記 Li Ji) are going online as part of Donald Sturgeon's Chinese Text Project.

There are several other works with Li in the title that I have had trouble tracing. These include:

  1. 禮義 Li Yi or 禮義纂 Li Yi Zuan; see quote (堯使母句作琴五[絃]。)
    - 禮義 25404.165: 1. 禮與義 li and yi (ceremonial and righteousness; 2. 禮儀 (see next).
    - 禮儀 25404.213: 1. 謂禮之要目 principal items of rites; 2. 禮節威儀也 glorious ethical code and manners.
       No book with these titles, and I cannot trace the text. However there is an Yi Li (see next)
  2. 儀禮 Yi Li (As yet I have found no qin quotes or indications that the above is an alternate title for this; no 儀禮纂 Yi Li Zuan)
    1181.115 書名,儀禮於漢代已殘闕 a book already fragmentary in the Han dynasty;
    apparently 3 of its 4 books were incorported into the Li Ji. (義禮 29142.xxx)
  3. 禮少儀 Li Shao Yi; see quote (琴瑟埶之皆在左手埶....)
    7634.248 少儀 Shao yi says Tang official rank or 禮記篇名 name of a chapter in the Li Ji (see above), but there is no connection to the quote given there. Yi Shi simply means "ceremonies".
  4. 禮記,疏 Commentary (Shu) on Li Ji; see quote
    25404.103 禮記 Li Ji does not mention this commentary (shu) and I do not know how to date the information given by the above quote that the qin then had seven strings.

3. Significance of the notes
The full passage from 樂記 Yue Ji 3 is as follows (see online text)

There is an interaction between the words and airs (of the people) and the character of their government. (The note) gong represents the ruler; shang, the ministers; jiao, the people; zhi, affairs; and yu, things. If there be no disorder or irregularity in these five notes, there will be no want of harmony in the state. If gong be irregular, (the air) is wild and broken; the ruler of the state is haughty. If shang be irregular, (the air) is jerky; the offices of the state are decayed. If jiao be irregular, (the air) expresses anxiety; the people are dissatisfied. If zhi be irregular, (the air) expresses sorrow; affairs are strained. If yu be irregular, (the air) is expressive of impending ruin; the resources (of the state) are exhausted. If the five notes are all irregular, and injuriously interfere with one another, they indicate a state of insolent disorder; and the state where this is the case will at no distant day meet with extinction and ruin.

4. The Grand Scribe's Records (史記 Shi Ji)
This is the title used in Nienhauser et al; in the Burton Watson translation it is The Records of the Grand Historian. References here to the Chinese edition are from the 中華書局 (ZHSJ = Zhonghua Shuju) edition. It was written mostly by 司馬遷 Sima Qian (145 or 135 BCE - 86 BCE; Wiki). The story about what he needed to do to complete it is told under Li Ling Si Han.

5. Spring and Autumn Annals of Wu and Yue (吳越春秋 Wu Yue Chunqiu)
Included in the Chinese Text Project, these annals are said to relate a fictionalized version of the struggle between Wu and Yue. According to 3453.559 it is a book in 10 folios(漢)趙曄撰 attributed to Zhao Ye of the Han dyansty then(元)徐天祜音注 annotated by Xu Tianhu of the Yuan. Apparently by the Yuan the original existed only in fragments; these were put together by Xu.

6. Mencius (孟子 Mengzi) (perhaps 372 – 289 BCE)
"Mencius" or "Mengzi" (Wiki) can refer either to the person (he was the most famous advocate of Confucius), or to the book attributed to him (online). The book mentions qin only in the two chapters mentioned above, 萬章上 Wan Zhang I and 盡心下 Jin Xin II. Mencius' biography is in Shi Ji 74 (Memoir 14).

7. References in 荀子 Xunzi
References in Xunzi to guqin are mentioned above. A passage from Xunzi that does not specifically mention qin but that might be considered relevant to guqin learning is mentioned here.

8. Shi Wei (Xin Shu?)
Bio/1799 says Yao Xin, from Wu during the Three Kingdoms period, was an expert in commentary on 周易 the Yi Jing, and that he wrote a 士緯新書 (5760.xxx; Shi Wei Xin Shu). I don't know why there is this confusion of titles.

The original quote credited to Shiwei Lun is:


If my translation is correct, the first line ("Qin and se are tuned, and thus is made [music of] Zheng and Wei") seems to be on the side of those suggesting that the music of Zheng and Wei were good (see further).

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