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Rao Zongyi: An Historical Account of the Qin
  from the close of the Song to the Jin and Yuan Dynasties 1

8. Outline of Yuan dynasty qin people 2 八,元代琴人述略  

The latter part of this article still being edited.

A Rong was one of the qin players among Mongolian aristocrats. He was a Palace Secretary Assistant Administrator and Grand Academician in the Hall of Literature.

Yuan History 143, his biography: Arong lived in leisure and entertained himself with literature..... During the day he would travel with gentlemen dressed as commoners to places of beautiful scenery; he would play the qin and write poems, all day forgetting to return.

Chi Zhan (see under A Rong) was another:

Zhan was a Yuan dynasty aristocrat from the Sushen ethnic group.3 He drew greyscale chrysanthemum flowers and was skilled in playing the qin. Reference: Cuiping Ji (see A Rong).

Tie Zhu (authored a Qin Pu in 8 folios) was yet another:

Zhu, style name Mingshan, was from Weiwu. See Addendum to Yuan History (Bu Yuan Shi), Annals of Artistic Literature (Yiwen Zhi).

As for painters who were skilled in qin. These included:

Zhao Mengfu:

Mengfu wrote Qin Source, which has been discussed (in Section 6). Later in life he acquired a qin named Pine Snow (Songxue) and thereby the nickname Old Man of the Pine Snow (Songxue Laoren). In his collection there are the poems Listening to Jiang Bohui Play a Qin 4 and Thanking Boji for Caring for my Qin, both of which concerned the qin.

Ni Zan

Lu Guibu Xubian:5 "Ni Zan, nickname Yunlinzi, was skilled in playing qin and knowledgeable about music theory." In poems he wrote: "Under the cottonrose hibiscus I sit and play the qin, and suspect that I could be in the bamboo forests by the Xiang River (Hunan). The green stems and cloud flags (ni jing: flags of immortals or flags with colorful feathers) are wet in the misty rain, and when autumn comes one cannot tell how deep the river is." From this one can imagine his style. Zan appreciated the qin. He avoided the soldiers traveling along the Sanmao (a lake in Jiangsu), sleeping with his scorched tail qin. In Yunlin Ji6 there are many works that discuss the qin; these include: Listening to a Qin of Yuan Zifang; At Leisurely Daoist Hall Hear Yuan Nangong Play Qin;7 Listening to Yuan Yuanwai play Qin {written in the eleventh month of the fourth year of Zhizheng [1344]};8 Listening to Qian Wenze Play a Qin;9 While Residing at the Home of Sa Panguan Hearing a Qin;10 Presented to Chen Wei,11 a poem that discusses his father Tian Ni reading and playing the qin without envying political success; (and) On the Last Day of the Second Month Hearing Liu Borung Play Qin.12 Many contemporary qin players had their names passed down because of his poems.

Ni Xiang

Yang Weizhen, in Epitaph at Retired Scholar Ni's Grave13 (Dongweizi Ji 26), wrote: "Retired scholar Ni of Wuxing was named Xiang, style name Ziju.... Whatever he learned he then expressed it on the qin; when the qin was not enough he expressed it in painting. In terms of qin he was most skilled at expressing the Ultimate Aims of "Clouds and Water",14 without having the fast rhythms of the common masters.

Contemporary scholars who wrote about the qin (included):

Wu Cheng,15 a Hanlin academician who wrote Qin Talk, 10 Rules {the Xuehai Leibian edition compiled this from various literary collections}.

Li Tianhe16 of Xin'gan and his son Songshou were both skilled in qin. They offered a book to (Wu) Cheng that discussed the separation and reunion of the three melodies and five strings. {Wu Caolu Ji}

Of literati who were skilled in qin, there were several:

Zhang Yu 17

In Shi Qian Ji,18 Sa Tianxi (see next) wrote: "The Maoshan Daoist has come to visit with a seven-stringed qin in his hand. He'll play a melody, imitating the bright moon, about how when the tong flowers have all fallen the evening breeze is chilly." In this the Maoshan Daoist refers to Zhang Boyu. Based on examining Juqu Waishi's (i.e., Zhang Yu's) Mr. Zhenju's Poetry Collection, he wrote many poems involving qin players. (A section called?) Qin Praise (Qin Zan19) has "For Ye Zeshan of Binzhou writing A Poem about Ruibin on an Iron Qin", Ben Wu Qiu Hai Er Shang Ren Hu Wan Yue Ye Tan Qin,20 Ting Binzhou Xianren Gu Qin,21 and others. His qin was named Wind in the Forest (Fenglin). He also once discussed qin with Zhao Mengfu (see above).

Sa Tianxi (in qinshi Xu under Ni Zan

Ni Yunlin Shiji 2, Su Sa Panguan Jia Ting Qin22 says: "Sa-gong [respectful suffix] was skilled in qin; he was virtuous and erudite. When he met He Huanxin at the city gate, he swept the mat of the high-ceilinged room [demonstration of welcome] when the rain stopped [?] and played for him Shui Yun from Xiao Xiang. The bamboo forest rustled in the air as the wind blew, and the mountain sun was behind the clouds as the waves flowed...."

Xiao Xingyuan 23 of Poyang was another:

The Collection of Master Jie Wenan 24 (includes a poem called):

"Xiao Xingyuan of Fanyang took the Tang dynasty qin named Frosty Bell (Shuangzhong) that his military official ancestor loved. As he returned from Helin (peace of the woods) he sought a poem, which I wrote on the third day of the sixth month at the fifth gate, after (Xiao) had received his pardon"

(Jie's poem) was a qigu long song,25 that included the following verses:26

"The day is long at the historiographers' institute (shiguan), silent and secluded,
    He straightens his hat and plays the qin for me.
The capital in the sixth month has a sun like fire,
    and the bell rings at midnight for an empty mountain.

I suspect that Xingyuan studied River-West Tablature (Jiang-xi pu).27

(Continue with 9. Zhe-tablature and the evolution of Xumen qin studies)

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
Prof. Rao's original article had no footnotes, so the footnotes below are all added by the translator. The text above uses the brackets { } for Prof. Rao's original bracketed phrases, while the brackets ( ) and [ ] indicate comments added by the translator. In addition, some of the paragraphs in the original article have been sub-divided, with a particular effort being made to highlight Rao's various quotes from historical sources.

1. Song, Jin and Yuan Dynasties (see also article reference)
The period covered in Rao Zongyi's essay includes (with dates, capital city [modern name]):

北宋 Northern Song (960-1126; 東京 Dongjing [開封 Kaifeng])
遼朝 Liao (907-1125; various, including 大定府 Dading Fu - the Central Capital: 中亰 Zhongjing [寧城 Ningcheng?])
南宋 Southern Song (1127-1280; 臨安府 Linan Fu [杭州 Hangzhou])
金 Jin (1115-1260; 汴京 Bianjing [開封 Kaifeng] as well as 中都 Zhongdu [北京 Beijing])
元 Yuan (1206-1280-1368; 大都 Dadu [北京 Beijing])

2. Initial translation by 金秋雨 Jin Qiuyu.

3. Su Shen 肅慎
29868.75 ancient name for a northern country, during the Liao period apparently merging with with the 女眞 Nüzhen (Juchen, Jurchen, etc.). This suggests they were related first to the Jin rulers and later the Manchus more than to the Mongols. (See in Wikipedia.)

4. To the words 聽姜伯惠彈琴 Listening to Jiang Bohui Play a Qin Rao adds the words 擘阮 Bo Ruan (thumbing a ruan lute?). These are not in the version in QSCM and I don't know their origin or significance.

5. Continuation of Register of Ghosts (錄鬼簿續編 Lu Guibu Xubian)...
41475.21 錄鬼簿 Lu Guibu was a book in two folios by 鍾嗣成 Zhong Sicheng (1279-1360) recording biographies of writers of Yuan drama (元曲 Yuan qu). ICTCL says the author honored the playwrights so their "ghosts would never die". It adds that it was expanded during the Ming (preface dated 1422), but does not mention "續編 Xubian"

6. Cloud Forest Collection (雲林集 Yunlin Ji)
Since Cloud Forest Gentleman (雲林士 Yunlin Shi) was a nickname of Ni Zan, this is presumably a collection of his poetry. 43170.165 list two books (also apparently poetry collections) with this title, but none by Ni Zan (the first is by 貢奎 Gong Kui [Yuan], the second by 危素 Wei Su [Ming]).

7. At Leisurely Daoist Hall Hear Yuan Nangong Play Qin (蕭閒道館聽袁南宮彈琴 Xiaoxian Daoguan Ting Yuan Nangong Tan Qin)


8. Listening to Yuan Yuanwai play Qin (聽袁員外彈琴 Ting Yuan Yuanwai Tan Qin, 1344)

9. Listen to Qian Wenze Play Qin (聽錢文則彈琴 Ting Qian Wenze Tan Qin)


10. While Residing at the Home of Sa Panguan Hearing a Qin (宿薩判官家聽琴 Su Sa Panguan Jia Ting Qin)


11. Presented to Chen Wei (Zeng Chen Weiyin 贈陳惟寅)
Discusses Ni Zan's father, 倪天 Ni Tian.

12. On the Last Day of the Second Month Hearing Liu Borung Play Qin (二月晦日聽劉伯容彈琴 Eryue Huiri Ting Liu Borong Tan Qin)
Liu Borong is discussed under the biography of Ni Zan.

13. Yang Weizhen 楊維貞, Epitaph at Retired Scholar Ni's Grave (倪處士墓誌銘 Ni Chushi Mu Zhi Ming)
In 東維子集 Dongweizi Ji 26. Retired scholar: chushi: a talented scholar who does not seek political advancement.

14. Ultimate Aims of Clouds and Water (水雲遠意 Shui Yun Yuan Yi)
17458.473xxx. This probably refers to expressing the deep meaning of the famous qin melody Clouds and Water over the Xiao and Xiang Rivers (Xiao Xiang Shui Yun).

15. Wu Cheng 吳澄 (1249 - 1333; Qin Talk, 10 Rules)
3453.724 Bio/1046; Yuan, from 樂仁 Leren, style name 幼清 伯清; also called 操廬先生 Caolu Xiansheng (his work Wu Caolu Ji is mentioned next.)

16. Li Tianhe 李天和 ; his son Li Songshou 李嵩壽)
From 新淦 Xin'gan (Jiangxi). Meaning of "論三操五絃之離合 separation and reunion of three melodies and five strings" is unclear. Source: 吳草廬集 Wu Caolu Ji (3453.437 by 吳澄 Wu Cheng - see previous).

17. Zhang Yu 張雨 (1283 - 1350)
Bio/1214 張雨 from Hangzhou; also named 天雨 Tianyu; style name 伯雨 Boyu; nicknames 句曲外史 Juqu Waishi and 貞居子 Zhenjuzi (or 貞居 Zhenju). His poems were collected in Mr. Zhenju's Poetry Collection (貞居先生詩集 Zhenju Xiansheng Shiji). Only one of the three poems in QSDQ, 19b is mentioned above.

18. Written Before the Poetry (詩前集 Shi Qian Ji)

19. Qin Praise (琴贊 Qin Zan

20. 本無秋海二上人鵠灣月夜彈琴 Ben Wu Qiu Hai Er Shang Ren Hu Wan Yue Ye Tan Qin,

21. 聽濱州仙人鼔琴 Ting Binzhou Xianren Gu Qin

22. 倪雲林詩集 Ni Yunlin Shiji 2, 宿薩判官家聽琴 Su Sa Panguan Jia Ting Qin

23. Xiao Xingyuan 蕭性淵
32667.xxx; 10708.xxx; from 鄱陽 Poyang (lake?) in Jiangxi province. The poem here mentioning his qin is also extracted in his Qinshi Xu biography. As for the qin called Frosty Bell (霜鍾 Shuangzhong), another poem conecting it to Xiao is included in QSDQ, Chapter 19a, but Zhou Mi (1232 - 1298) mentions it as one of two apparently Tang dynasty qins belonging to another contemporary, Zhang Shouyi; see also QSDQ Folio 18.

Rao's final comment is "疑性淵所習即講習譜也".

24. Collection of Master Jie Wenan (揭文安公集 Jie Wenan Gong Ji)
揭文安 Jie Wen'an was 揭徯斯 Jie Xisi (12679.37; Bio/2298, 1274 - 1344), 字曼碩 style name Manshi or Manshuo, named Wenan after he died.

25. Qigu long song (七古長歌 qigu changge)
Long song using 七言古体诗, 7-characters per line, old form of meter.

26. Jie Wenan's poem
The complete original text of the poem is: 番陽蕭性淵攜其祖將領所愛唐琴號霜鍾者還自和林求詩六月三日五門宣赦後作

Rao quotes the 9th and 10th lines.

27. Xiao Xingyuan and River-West Tablature
Rao Zongyi's comment after the poem that he "suspects that Xingyuan studied River-West Tablature perhaps suggests that Rao thinks Jie intended Xiao actually to sing the lyrics himself. If so, that would make this song notable for the fact that its lyrics concern the person playing. Such songs cannot be found in the earliest surviving collection of qin songs, Taigu Yiyin (1511), but they may be found in the second, Chongxiu Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu (1585). If this was actually sung, then presumably Xiao used either his own music or adapted an existing melody.

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