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Liu An
- Qin Shi #65
劉安 1
琴史 #65 2
Liu An studying3    
Liu An (ca. 180 - 122 BCE), or An, Prince of Huainan, had his court in Shouchun (Shouxian), now a suburb of the modern city of Huainan in Anhui province.
4 His father Liu Chang (one of the eight sons of Liu Bang) had also been Prince of Huainan, but was dismissed due to involvement in a rebellion.5 Several years later, in 164 BCE, Liu An himself became Prince of Huainan. He may have had higher political ambitions, but is best known for his interests in literature and music.

The book Huainanzi was a collection of 21 essays written by scholars at his court.6 A number of its qin references were included in the qin handbook Qinshu Daquan, including in:

Folio 1, #3: Qin began with Shen Nong
Folio 16, #29: 9 selections from six chapters.

Huainanzi also has several other references to qin.7

Liu An is said to have written the poem Zhao Yin Shi (Summons for a Recluse); it is often said to be a Chu Ci poem, though it is also often excluded because of its date. In any case, this Zhao Yin Shi is the earliest known poem on a topic which became quite popular after the Han dynasty. The qin melody Zhao Yin is connected to this theme.

Liu An's biography here, as elsewhere, discusses his search for immortality. The biography of Juanzi says Liu An was unable to understand Juanzi's Tiandiren Jing, but there is no mention of this here.

Qin illustration 34 in Taiyin Daquanji shows what it says is a qin named Yun Quan by Liu An, but that Liu An is from Jin, so it is presumably a different Liu An.8

The original Qin Shi essay begins as follows.9

Prince An of Huainan, a son of Prince Li, was a talented writer and qin player. As a result we have the melody Ba Gong Cao..... (incomplete).  
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Liu An 劉安 (Wikipedia)
2270.222 劉安. See also under his title, Huainan Wang An 18117.25 淮南王安. Wang (normally king) is generally translated "prince" for relatives of the Han emperor (though Wikipedia currently has King of Huainan).

2. 12 lines; the biography title is 淮南王安 King An of Huainan

3. Image
From an illustrated Ming edition of Liexian Quanzhuan, an expanded later version of Liexian Zhuan.

4. 淮南 Huainan / Huai Nan
As a geographical region "Huai" refers to the basin of the Huai river, encompassing a large part of the area between the lower Yellow River and Yangzi River basins. The city of Huainan ("south of Huai") in central Anhui province lies on the south bank of Huai River, but it is not always clear to what area "Huainan" specifically refers. Liu An, as "Prince of Huainan", apparently had his court in 壽春 Shouchun, now 壽縣 Shouxian, a county on the southwest side of Huainan; before that it had been for a time capital of the state of 楚 Chu.

5. 劉長 Liu Chang
After Liu Chang died on the way into exit he was given the postumous title 厲王 Prince Li.

6. Huainanzi 淮南子 (Wikipedia)
In 139 BCE Liu An, prince of Huainan, presented this book to the Han emperor Wudi. There is now a complete translation into English:

The Huainanzi, A guide to the theory and practice of government in early Han China, translated and edited by John S. Major, Sarah A. Queen, Andrew Seth Meyer, and Harold d. Roth. New York, Columbia University Press, 2010.

7. References to qin in Huainanzi
See Major et al index, p. 973. Relevant passages include:

  1. 齊俗訓:「晉平公出言而不當,師曠舉琴而撞之,跌衽宮壁,左右欲塗之,平公曰:「舍之,以此為寡人失。」孔子聞之曰:「平公非不痛其體也,欲來諫者也。」韓子聞之曰:「臣失禮而弗誅,是縱過也。有以也,夫平公之不霸也。」
    Qisuxun, 2. Major et al, Integrating Customs, 11.15 (p.418) translates this:

    "Duke Ping of Jin let slip words that were not correct. Music Master Kuang raised his qin and bumped into him, so that he tripped on his robe and (struck) the wall. The courtiers wanted to plaster (the damaged spot). Duke Ping said, 'Leave it. This will (remind) me of my fault'. Confucius heard this and said, 'It is not that Duke Ping did not cherish his body, but that he wanted to attract those who would admonish him.' Han(Fei)zi heard this and said, 'The assembled officials abandoned Ritual and were not punished. This is to condone transgression. This is why Duke Ping did not become hegemon!'" (A version of the same story is in Han Feizi.)
  2. 說山訓:「瓠巴鼓瑟,而淫魚出聽;伯牙鼓琴,駟馬仰秣。」
    Shuoshanxun, 2. Major et al, A Mountain of Persuasions, 16.4a: Hu Ba plays se and Boya plays qin (further)
  3. 脩務訓:「今夫盲者目不能別晝夜,分白黑,然而搏琴撫弦,參彈複徽,攫援摽拂,手若蔑蒙,不失一弦。使未嘗鼓瑟者,雖有離朱之明,攫掇之捷,猶不能屈伸其指。何則?服習積貫之所致。」
    Xiuwuxun, 9. Major et al, Cultivating Effort, 19.5 translates this:

    "Now in the case of a blind person, his eyes cannot distinguish day from night or differentiate white from black; nevertheless when he grasps the qin and plucks the strings, triply plucking and doubly pressing, touching and plucking, pulling and releasing, his hands are like a blur, and he never misses a string. If we tried to get someone who had never played the qin to do this, though possessing the clear sight of Li Zhu or the nimble fingers of Jue Duo, it would be as if he could neither contract nor extend a finger. What is the reason for this? Such things are made possible only through repeated practice so they become habitual."
  4. 脩務訓:「若此而不能,間居靜思,鼓琴讀書,追觀上古及賢大夫,」
    Xiuwuxun, 9. Major et al, Cultivating Effort, 19.5 translates this: "However, people of later ages did not have the leisure to sit and still their thoughts, playing the qin and reading books, reflecting on observations of high antiquity, befriending worthies and great men...."
  5. 脩務訓:「是故鍾子期死而伯牙絕弦破琴。」
    Xiuwuxun, 13: Major et al, Cultivating Effort, 19.7 (p.784): Boya (q.v.) breaks his strings.
  6. 脩務訓:「琴或撥刺枉橈,闊解漏越,而稱為楚莊之琴,側室爭鼓之。」
    Xiuwuxun, 13. Major et al, Cultivating Effort, 19.7 translates this: "A qin may be twangy and sharp, crooked and bent, with its resonance gone and its aftertones excessive, but if it is said to have been the qin of King Zhuang of Chu, then it is [prized], and the favored will contend to play it."
  7. 脩務訓:「山桐之琴,澗梓之腹,雖鳴廉修營,唐牙莫之鼓也。」
    Xiuwuxun, 13. Major et al, Cultivating Effort, 19.7 translates this: "Although qins made of mountain tong wood with sounding boards of river valley catalpa may sound as pure, lingering and clear as [the music of] Master Tang or Bo Ya, no one plays them.
  8. 脩務訓:「鼓琴者期於鳴廉修營,而不期於濫肋、號鍾。」
    Xiuwuxun, 14. Major et al, Cultivating Effort, 19.7: qins named 濫肋 Lanxie and 號鍾 Hao Zhong

There are other references here to Huainanzi in Chapters 2, 3, 5, 8-16, 20 and 21.

8. Liu An of Jin 晉劉安
The qin named Cloud Spring (雲泉 Yun Quan, Qin illustration 34), is attributed to a 劉安 Liu An of 晉 Jin. 2270.222 mentions several other people named Liu An, but there is no mention of Jin. For various Jin see in Wikipedia. It most importantly refers to both a dynasty (265–420) and to a state during the Spring and Autumn Period, centered in the Shanxi area.

9. Chinese original (12 lines) not yet online.


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