Miscellaneous essays Traduits et annotés

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3 A circuit comprising the modern K‘ai-fêng-fu in Honan.

4 Ho-nan-fu.

5 Therefore the locusts could not be considered a punishment for unjust taxation.

6 For those offences for which the insects are supposed to have made their appearance.

This explanation is forced and certainly erroneous. It would be to the point, if the character designated some insects, and not wind, for to whom would the two components ‘all’ and ‘insects’ suggest the idea of wind ? The explanation given by Wieger, Rudiments 12, Leçons étymologiques p. 77 is not satisfactory either. He submits that the ancient character was composed of sun, movement, and expansion, and that this combination suggests the atmospheric currents produced by the action of the sunbeams. I suppose that in the character is the phonetic, and the radical. is a crawling animal, a reptile, and describes the crawling, the undulating of the currents of air. Some ancient forms of are formed of , a current, instead of , a reptile, and from the antique form we infer that and, occurring in other characters, were originally connected : , and are nothing else than a viper with a big head, a synonym for a reptile=.

1 A method still followed to the present day.

2 A recluse of the Chou epoch, celebrated for his purity. Tse Kung is said to have blamed him for living in a country the government of which he condemned, and under a prince whom he despised. Pao Chiao took these words so much to heart, that he withered up into dead wood.

3 Another hermit. Cf. Vol. I, p. 427, Note 4.

1 My translation is a conjecture. Perhaps the latter character ‘an ulcer’ is spurious.

2 I have omitted translating [], some insect or reptile not mentioned in the dictionaries.

When a man passes through marshes, leeches may stick to his feet, and suck his blood.

3 [] for which the dictionaries only give the meaning ‘to wriggle’. Here it must be a substantive.

1 Shiking Part II, Book VII, Ode 5 (Legge, Classics Vol IV, Part II, p. 394) [Couvreur].

2 This story is narrated in the biography of the king of Ch‘ang-yi, Ch‘ien Han-shu, chap. 63, p. 18r. The king was a grandson of the emperor Han Wu Ti.

1 These arguments of the Mêhists are refuted in Vol. I, chap. XV.

2 This is Wang Ch‘ung’s opinion at least.

3 Cf. Vol. I, p. 202, Note 2.

1 A practice still prevailing in our time.

1 We learn from the ‘Family Sayings’ that, when a member of the Chi family had died, they were going to put cat’s-eyes into his coffin, as is customary for princes, and to bestow pearls and jade upon him. Confucius, just then governor of Chung-tu, hearing of it, ascended the steps and interfered saying, ‘To inter a man with precious stones is like exposing a corpse in the open plain, and thus affording people an opportunity of gratifying their wicked designs’. Chia-yü IX, 16r.

On the old custom of filling the mouths of deceased princes with jade and other precious objects see De Groot, Religious System Vol. I, p. 269 seq.

2 They could afford to put precious things into the grave.

1 Or the diviner Hsien who lived under the Yin dynasty and is mentioned in the Preface of the Shuking. Cf. Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. I, p. 191, Note 1.

2 In Hades.

1 Therefore they treat them, as if they were still alive and together with the living.

2 Two prominent disciples of Confucius.

3 Cf. Liki, T‘an-kung p. 52r. (Legge, Sacred Books Vol. XXVII, p. 173) [Couvreur].

4 This was not likely, for, historically speaking, human sacrifices precede, but do not follow the use of dummies buried together with the dead.

5 Real vessels are, likewise, antecedent to the so called ‘spirit vessels’, made of straw or clay, and merely symbolical and commemorative of an ancient custom that had fallen into desuetude.

The State became impoverished by extravagant funerals.

1 Cf. p. 47.

2 De Groot in his Religious System Vol. II, p. 659 speaks at great length of the reaction against expensive funerals, but does not mention Wang Ch‘ung as an advocate of economy. He calls attention to two chapters of the Lü-shih-ch‘un-ch‘iu, recommending simplicity in burials, and to the disquisitions of Wang Fu of the 2nd cent. A. D. Later on, Chu Hsi was in favour of plain funerals, but the exaggerated ideas on filial piety have counteracted all reasonable arguments.

1 494-468 B. C.

2 Quoted from Huai Nan Tse XVIII, 18v.

3 Common people believe in these superstitions.

1 I. e., when a new building is erected in the west for the use of a second master. The other possibility that the new building is destined for the one master to enlarge his dwelling, is not taken into account.

1 The Fêng-su t‘ung, quoted in the Pei-wên-yün-fu, gives a similar reason : The west is the seat of the superiors, and a new building in this direction would be hurtful to them.

2 Even a good man may innocently suffer punishment and thus become a convict.

1 Analects VIII, 3 [Couvreur].

2 See Liki, Chi-yi (Legge, Sacred Books Vol. XXVIII, p. 229) [Couvreur].

1 Cf. Vol. I, p. 120 and 131, where Wang Chi is called ‘king Chi’ or Chi Li.

2 Vid. p. 81.

1 This meaning is not found in the dictionaries.

2 The horse, the ox, the goat, the pig, the dog, and the cock.

3 A term strangely corresponding to the German word ‘toilet’ = privy.

4 Most Chinese privies are so horrid, that even Chinese try to avoid them.

5 Chinese varnish is so poisonous, that its smell alone suffices to produce a cutaneous eruption.

Quotation from the Shi-chi chap. 75, p. 2r. the biography of T‘ien Wên. Cf. also Vol. I, p. 161, where, in line 10, ‘He replied’ should be written for ‘She replied’, and, in line 13, ‘He rejoined’ for ‘She rejoined’.

1 This reason may be in accordance with Wang Ch‘ung’s system, to us it appears inane.

2 This is Wang Ch‘ung’s opinion. The belief of his countrymen is that many actions, apart from their qualities, entail misfortune, and solely for this reason are to be shunned.

3 Perhaps the electricity caused the sauce to spoil, as milk becomes sour when the air is charged with electricity. Wang Ch‘ung does not know this.

4 The first thunder-storms are in spring. This single case, Wang Ch‘ung seems to intimate, was the reason that, subsequently, people always liked to have their bean-sauce ready before the first peal of thunder was heard viz. before the beginning of spring.

1 Similar ‘avoidances’ have come down to our own rational times. E. g. one must not thank any one for a knife or a pair of scissors, otherwise they would cut the friendship. A young lady avoids cutting a fresh pat of butter, otherwise she is sure not to marry during the year.

2 This rule goes back to Confucius, who in bed, did not lie like a corpse. Analects X, 16 [Couvreur].

3 This may be an allusion to the frailty of the body or of friendship.

4 A man making such a request would be like one having somebody to bury. The very sensible reasons given for these various customs are Wang Ch‘ung’s.

5 Liki, Ch‘ü-li p. 18r. (Legge, Sacred Books Vol. XXVII, p. 80) [Couvreur].

1 This must not be taken literally. It seems to mean to cause damage or misfortune.

2 The North.

3 The West.

4 East-north-east.

5 South-south-east.

6 The element metal corresponds to the west.

7 The element of the east is wood, that of the south where the inimical luminaries are placed, while menacing the family, is fire. Charcoal is a combination of wood and fire.

8 On the collision with the year-star = Jupiter of people moving their residence see chap. XXXIX.

1 In one case they punish those who collide with them, in the other, those living in quite a different direction viz. a quarter to the right or the left of their stand-point.

2 We ought to read yu, as above, I suppose.

3 Perhaps we should add ‘and a yin house’.

A province under the Han comprising Kiangsu, Anhui, Kiangsi, Fukien, and Chekiang.

In the west.

4 Tibetan tribes.

5 Jupiter was first supposed to stay in the north, outside of China, now it is placed amidst men, in the interior.

1 The suburban sacrifices were offered to Heaven.

2 Three t‘ung are one yuan.

3 These periods may be of Taoist origin. Some reckon a yuan at 129,600, others at 24,192,000 years, something like a geological period. The Taoists like the Indians are fond of big numbers. According to one authority 3,276,000 years have elapsed from the creation of the world to 481 B. C.

4 Cf. also p. 383, Notes 1 and 2.

5 The twelve hours of the day are denominated after the twelve cyclical signs yin, mao, &c., marking that place of the horizon over which the sun stays during each double hour. In the same way, every month of the Chinese calendar is connected with that cyclical sign in which the moon rests during that month. In the course of twelve months the moon has passed through all the twelve constellations or cyclical signs. Wang Ch‘ung is not correct in saying that the yin and mao ‘times’ are added to the twelve months, they are not times in this case, but constellations corresponding to those of our zodiac. The twelve [], to which belong yin and mao, are those places of the firmament through which the sun passes in twelve double hours, and the moon in twelve months. For this reason they are made use of to designate the twelve hours as well as the twelve months. Moreover, the course of the planet Jupiter through these signs of the zodiac, which is completed in 12 years, affords a means of denoting the consecutive years, on which cf. Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. III, p. 655 seq.

1 Cf. Vol. I, p. 167.

1 Prosperity and decay are the events and circumstances making people happy or miserable.

2 These seem to be geomantic terms.

1 Both are elements.

2 Digging a grave, and making ditches or tilling a garden.

Quoted from the Ch‘un-ch‘iu, Duke Hsüan 8th year [Couvreur, § 10].

3 The Duchess of Lu was Ching Ying.

Originally the duchess was to be buried on a chi-ch‘ou day, but the rain prevented it. Chi-ch‘ou, being the 26th combination of the cycle of sixty, would have been an even day, and as such in harmony with the uneven day of the death of the duchess. The kêng-yin day, the 27th combination, was an odd day again and not tallying with the odd day of death.

1 The Tso-chuan, commenting upon the above quoted passage, states that to delay the interment owing to rain was according to rule. The Liki (Legge, Sacred Books Vol. XXVII, p. 223) [Couvreur] informs us that common people did not suspend the interment because of rain, and this rule seems to prevail at present, a rain-fall during a burial being regarded as very propitious. Cf. De Groot, Religious System Vol. I, p. 213.

2 Liki eod.

3 In adding seven, five, or three, the month of death is included.

I. e., it would correspond to the month of death, being even in case the latter was even, and uneven if the latter was.

4 In general belief, here only used as an argument, for Wang Ch‘ung does not share it. See Vol. I, chap. 15 and below.

1 Because men do not choose propitious days for eating and drinking.

1 Cf. Vol. I, p. 473, Note 3.

2 The Chinese still use wooden combs to-day, a fact illustrated by the character for comb .

3 Fire, the Yang fluid, the producing force of nature is nobler than water, the Yin fluid, which is regarded as passive or destructive.

According to the theory of the Five Elements, elaborated in the Han epoch, of the Twelve Branches hai and tse are related to water, and yin and mao, to wood. Cf. Appendix I p. 467.

4 The prescription cannot be explained by the fanciful theory on the elements and their correlates.

5 We have to insert the answer to the preceding rhetorical question : nobody.

1 The Eight Objects of Government, enumerated in the Shuking, viz. food, commodities, sacrifices, works, instruction, jurisdiction, entertainment of guests, and warfare. [Couvreur]

2 Its importance lies not so much in its usefulness — in this respect a coat or a cloak are more important — as in its covering the head, the noblest part of the body.

3 These Nine Gifts were symbols of authority, anciently bestowed upon vassals and ministers. They were : a chariot and horses, robes of State, musical instruments, vermilion coloured entrance doors, the right to approach the sovereign by the central path, armed attendants, bows and arrows, battle-axes, and sacrificial wines. Mayers’ Manual Pt. II No. 284.

The disturbance would be the same, whether the day be auspicious or not.

1 The inventor of writing.

2 These dynasties were celebrated for their music.

3 Some days are shunned out of respect for great men that died on these days, but not because they forebode evil.

Confucius admits the existence of ghosts and spirits, and that they be sacrificed to, but avoids speaking of them and answering any questions about their nature.

1 Quotation from the Hsiao-ching (Pei-wên-yün-fu).

1 A fictitious point, also called sui-yin, ‘the opposite of Jupiter’, used for designating the year by means of the cycle of sixty. (See Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. III, p. 654). The term chia-tse would correspond to the north. Then Jupiter itself would have its position due south.

1 179-157 B. C.

2 Cf. Giles, Bibl. Dict. No. 105 and p. 144, Note 5.

3 We see from this passage that the personification of ‘T‘ai-suiis not a recent invention as De Harlez, Le Livre des Esprits et des Immortels, p. 134 says. This spirit is venerated at the present day, and seems by some to be regarded as a dangerous spirit of the soil.

4 On the firmament Jupiter describes a curve, not a straight line.

5 The spirits of Heaven dislike crookedness.

6 While crossing the course of T‘ai-sui from north to south.

7 The north and the south points.

1 The fog would spread sideways as well as from north to south.

2 The eastern quadrant of heaven.

3 Wang Ch‘ung seems to take the Green Dragon for a real dragon of extraordinary dimensions.

4 I. e., not always keeping on one side of T‘ai-sui.

5 Equivalent to China.

6 The Huang-ho, the Huai, and the Lo.

7 Shuking Part V, Book XII, 14 (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part II, p. 428) [Couvreur].

8 Cf. Vol. I, p. 253.

1 Names of the Nine Circuits.

2 In Chinese natural philosophy the North, or cold, overcomes the South, or heat ; there is no real breaking.

1 Theoretically opposite directions as well as opposite qualities of things, in short all opposites, knock together and destroy one another.

2 Cf. Vol. I, p. 534.

3 The eight terms are those of the Eight Diagrams.

4 Viz. k‘un and tui.

5 The other six diagrams.

In one plan of the Eight Diagrams (Mayers’ Manual p. 335) kên represents the North-east.

1 The South-west.

2 The South.

3 Why would the approaching of wu from kun not be disastrous ?

4 E.N.E.

5 W.S.W.

6 Cf. p. 389, Note 7.

7 In the term chia-tse, chia does not signify any direction. Together with yi it may stand for the east.

1 Because in the east they might collide with T‘ai-sui in chia, provided it could stay there.

1 This would seem to be the cycle of sixty in which the sign chia recurs six times.

2 The two first of the Five Tones or musical notes.

3 The same as the Five Tones.

4 It is difficult to grasp the full meaning of the aforesaid without a commentary.

5 These signs are thought of as spiritual beings also.

Streets and alleys not near an inn, which seem not to have been marked like those surrounding an inn.

1 Therefore these stands and bazaars should be treated like dwelling houses viz. be marked with chia, yi, &c.

2 Only market inns, i. e., solid buildings are placed on a level with dwelling houses.

3 Days are counted by means of the two cycles of ten and of twelve combined.

4 Properly speaking, only the Twelve Branches are added to the hours.

1 Chia corresponds to wood, and tse to water, two harmonious elements.

2 3-5 a. m.

3 The element of yin and mao is wood like that of chia and yi. Consequently there was no antagonism between the signs chia, tse, and yin, and yet Chou was unlucky.

4 In so far as this and the duodenary cycle are used to determine the days = , which originally means ‘sun’.

5 There are not ten suns, but the ten cyclical signs are attached to each ten consecutive days.

6 These twelve constellations, designated by the Twelve Branches, serve to determine the twelve Chinese double-hours, according as the sun, in its daily course, passes through them.

The first signs of the denary and of the duodenary cycles.

7 Here we have the same equivocation of days and suns. The notation by the two cycles merely applies to days, not to suns.

8 Probably a diagram, used for divining purposes, similar to that found in calendars.

9 Based on the well known symbolism by reference to the elements.

It determines the hours.

In the encyclopedias of surnames one of the Five Sounds is attached to each name. I fail to understand how they were determined by the so-called experts. There is another tradition that Huang Ti blew the flute to fix the surnames.

1 They are naturally obtained, and it is superfluous artificially to determine their sounds.

2 Tso-chuan, Duke Yin 8th year (Legge, Classics Vol. V, Part I, p. 25) [Couvreur, § 9].

3 Cf. Vol. I, p. 318.

4 See Vol. I, p. 95, Note 6.

5 [], which may mean : prosperous, flourishing, powerful.

6 [] = to expand, to prosper, to advance, to rise.

7 The mother of Confucius is reported to have ascended the Ni hill, before his birth.

1 This was the personal name of Duke Chao of Sung, 619-611 B. C. (See Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. IV, p. 241), and it was borne by some other dukes of other States too.

2 The gist of this passage, but not the examples, is derived from the Tso-chuan, Duke Huan 6th year (Legge, Classics Vol. V, Part I, p. 49) [Couvreur, § 5].

[] meaning a potter.

[] meaning a farmer.

3 [], a high officer.

4 [], a military officer.

5 [] and [], denoting the eldest and the second son of a family.

6 The theory of clan-names exposed in Legge’s translation of the Tso-chuan p. 26 differs somewhat.

7 Liki, Ch‘ü-li (Legge, Sacred Books Vol. XXVII, p. 78) [Couvreur].

1 Which they forbid loc. cit. See also p. 253, Note 2.

2 [], the first tone.

3 [], the fourth tone.

Analects VI, 15 [Couvreur].

4 Cf. Vol. I, p. 510 and 516.

1 [][], the fourth and the fifth tones corresponding to the south = fire and the north = water. Fire and water would injure metal and earth, the elements of kung and shang.

2 [] corresponding to wood.

Metal = white being destroyed by fire = the south.

3 Earth = yellow not being injured by fire = the south.

1 According to the theory of the Chinese physicists, metal is connected with the west, and wood with the east.

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