Wang ch‘ung lun-hêng miscellaneous essays Traduits et annotés par Alfred forke

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4 The history of these tripods, the insignia of imperial power, is related in Vol. I, p. 506 seq. Wang Ch‘ung here assumes that they were made of gold, the general opinion is that they were made of bronze or copper.

1 In Talifu, Yünnan.

2 The twenty-fourth part of a Tael or a 1/24 ounce. In many Chinese rivers gold is found, but in such small quantities as mentioned here, so that the washing does not pay.

3 It is needless to say that under all the other dynasties gold was found as well.

4 The yellow metal = gold, the white metal = silver, and the red metal = copper. Cf. Shuking, Yükung (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part I, p. 110, Note 43).

5 See Vol. I, p. 95 and 368.

6 In 78 A. D.

7 Cf. p. 207, Note 4. Ch‘üan-ling lies north of the modern Ling-Ling-hsien in Hunan. The Hou Han shu chap. 3, p. 6r. speaks only of Ling-ling, whence in the 3rd year of the emperor Chang Ti’s reign purple boletus was sent as a present.

8 These seem to have been comptrollers or revenue officers.

9 Northwest of the present Hsiang-yuan-hsien in Kuangsi. The Hou Han shu loc. cit. mentions only these three places.

10 In Kuei-lin-fu, Kuangsi.

11 Under the Han dynasty a part of the Ling-ling circuit in Hunan.

1 The Hou Han shu loc. cit. merely reports that in the 5th year of the emperor (80 A. D.) purple boletus was sent from Ling-ling.

2 The main river of the province of Hunan which falls into the Tungting Lake.

3 All the editions here write 160 feet. I suppose that should be written, for else the sequel that the dragons were bigger than horses would give no sense.

4 The Hou Han shu contents itself with the short statement that eight yellow dragons were seen in Ch‘üan-ling, A commentator adds that the two big dragons playing in the Hsiang were of the size of horses and had horns, and that the six young ones were as big as colts, but hornless.

5 A city in Hsü-chou-fu, Kiangsu. Cf. Vol. I, p. 507.

6 On this function see Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. II, p. 526.

7 I. e., as a genuine phœnix, and a lucky omen.

8 In Hsüan Ti’s time, 73-49 B. C. the capital was Chang-an in Shensi.

1 The distance from the capital.

2 The whole empire is, as it were, the emperor’s home, wherefore it is unnecessary to calculate the distance of cities from the capital.

3 In 165 B. C. For further details on Kung-Sun Ch‘ên cf. Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. II, p. 479.

4 30 Li north from Ch‘in-an-hsien in the province of Kansu.

5 The colour of earth, according to Chinese ideas, is yellow like that of the yellow dragons which are supposed to have indicated it.

6 Earth being the fifth of the Five Elements in the series of the Shuking : water, fire, metal, wood, earth, its number is five.

7 The colour of the Hsia dynasty was black. In war they used black horses and for sacrifices black victims. The Yin dynasty adopted white as its colour, and the Chou dynasty red. See Liki, Legge Sacred Books Vol. XXVII, p. 125 [Couvreur]. The Ch‘in dynasty again selected black (Chavannes Mém. Hist. Vol. II, p. 130). The colour of the present Manchu dynasty is yellow again.

8 Again the shallow symbolism. Sweetness is the taste corresponding to earth.

9 Cf. p. 163.

10 The names of the first and the last of the Eight Diagrams from which the other six, the children, were evolved.

1 Analects VI, 21 [Couvreur].

2 Earth is placed in the centre, whereas the four other elements correspond to the four cardinal points.

3 Personal name of the ‘Yellow Emperor’ Huang Ti.

4 The green dragon is the animal of the East, the scarlet bird that of the South, the white tiger that of the West, and the black tortoise that of the North.

5 There is a supposed correspondence between the centre, earth, yellow, sweet, the heart, and Huang Ti. See Appendix to Couvreur’s Dictionary.

1 Quoted from the Shuking, Yao-tien 1 (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part I, p. 15) [Couvreur].

2 The words following the above passage are generally regarded as forming part of the original merely edited by Confucius. But we find nearly the same words […] in the Preface to the Shuking which is attributed to Confucius.

3 In 483 B. C. when Confucius was already 69 years of age.

4 Quotation from the Analects IX, 14 [Couvreur].

5 Various explanations of the term shang in Shang-shu have been proposed by Chinese critics. It is said to mean the ‘highest’ i. e., the most venerable book or the book of the ‘highest antiquity’ (cf. Legge, loc. cit. Note). Wang Ch‘ung here takes it to signify the book treating of sovereigns.

6 A noble of the Wei State, 5th cent. B. C., who took a leading part in a revolution in Wei, which cost Tse Lu his life. The tripod with the inscription was conferred upon him by the duke. The encomiastic inscription, eulogising the ancestors of the recipient, is given in the Liki, Chi-t‘ung p. 66r. (Legge, Sacred Books Vol. XXVIII, p. 252) [Couvreur, § 28].

1 A circuit in Anhui.

2 Huang Pa was first thrown into prison by the emperor, but then re-instated and highly honoured. He died in B. C. 51. See Giles, Bibl. Dict. No. 865.

3 A minister of Shun and director of State music. Cf. p. 257.

4 827-782 B. C.

5 The duke of Shao, Wu Wang’s brother.

6 Shiking, Part I, Book II, Ode 5 (Legge, Classics Vol. IV, Part I, p. 26) [Couvreur].

7 These 40 odes form Part IV of the Shiking [Legge][Couvreur]. The term [] eulogy is given a different meaning by modern commentators viz. ‘songs for the ancestral temple’ or ‘sacrificial odes’. See Legge, Shiking Part II, p. 569, Notes.

8 Chap. XVIII.

9 Chap. XIX.

10 Analects VIII, 19 [Couvreur].

2 Cf. p. 187. Legge in his Prolegomena to the Shiking p. 13 adduces the words of the peasant as the ‘song of the peasants in the time of Yao’.

3 I think that the question of the peasant has not this purport. He only means to say that he does not care for Yao in the least. In the ‘song of the peasants’ this idea is more clearly brought out [].

4 Rivers in Honan and Shantung.

5 Cf. p. 198.

1 On posthumous titles see Vol. I, p. 162, 208.

2 [] means ‘to expand, to propagate’ scl. civilisation, consequently Hsüan-wang is the Civilising King.

3 [] signifies ‘high, eminent, lofty’.

1 The people are the pedestrians, the rulers, those riding in the State-cart, and their panegyrists are compared to the adornments of this cart.

2 In the Shi-chi.

3 73 B. C.- 1 A. D. The work alluded to was perhaps the Yang Hsiung fu shih êrh p‘ien mentioned in the Catalogue of the Han-chu chap. 30, p. 32v.

4 Vol. I, chap. XXXVIII and Vol. II, chap. XVIII-XX.

1 We do not appreciate panegyrists and their bombastic and coloured descriptions, but want true historians.

2 See the reproductions and translations of Ch‘in inscriptions in Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. II, p. 544 seq.

1 Books IV-VIII of the Lun-hêng (Chinese text).

2 Both chapters are lost.

3 Chap. II.

4 76 A. D.

5 Cf. p. 211.

6 Chap. XXX and XXXI.

7 Wang Ch‘ung probably refers to some place in Chekiang province of which he was a native.

8 This seems to have been an official charged with the annual revision of the archives.

1 A statement contradicted by facts.

2 This reminds us of Analects IX, 21 [Couvreur] […]. The flowers, of course, are compared with literary productions, and the fruit with the author’s character.

3 See p. 274 Note 2.

4 Cf. Liki (Legge, Sacred Books Vol. XXVII, p. 128) [Couvreur] and p. 23.

5 The expression [] means writings as well as ornaments.

6 I. e., its colour is black and yellowish.

7 Signs, looking like Chinese characters, which are made use of for divination.

1 Letters and virtue, in Wang Ch‘ung’s opinion, are always combined.

2 Again mere symbolism which the old philosophers took for science.

3 See Vol. I, p. 95.

4 Vid. loc. cit.

5 Analects XII, 8 [Couvreur], where Chi Tse Ch‘êng is introduced saying :

— In a superior man it is only the substantial qualities which are wanted ; why should we seek for ornamental accomplishments ?

1 In many respects, these remarks apply still to our own times. Originality and genius but seldom qualify a man for a professorship. To obtain this it is much safer to keep in the beaten tracks, holding sound views viz. these just in vogue, and to show a fair mediocrity, as any superiority is calculated to offend the amour-propre of ‘ordinary scholars’.

2 Chou Kung is believed to be the author of the Chou-li, the Rites of the Chou dynasty.

3 They are creations, classical works.

4 Shên Kung lived in the 2nd and 3rd cent. B. C. His edition of the Shiking is known as the Lu-shi, the Shiking of Lu.

5 A scholar of the 2nd cent. B. C., born in Ch‘ien-ch‘êng in Shantung. He was a pupil of the famous Fu Shêng and is generally known as Ou-Yang Shêng.

6 This seems to be Kung-Sun Hung, who died 121 B. C. The Shi-chi, however, does not mention him as a commentator of the Shuking, but couples his name with that of an expositor of the Shiking.

7 Notices on these three scholars are given in the Shi-chi chap. 121.

1 Allusion to the Shuking, Part V, Book XV, 10 (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part II, p. 469) [Couvreur].

2 Huai Nan Tse XIII, 9r. uses these words with regard to the emperor Yü, … adding that during one meal he had to rise ten times. The Shi-chi chap. 33, p. 3v. (Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. IV, p. 93) refers them to Chou Kung. While washing his head, Chou Kung usually was disturbed by visitors three times.

3 Great poet. See Vol. I, p. 123, Note 5.

4 This poem so fascinated the emperor Han Wu Ti, that he summoned Sse-Ma Hsiang Ju to Court (Giles, Bibl. Dict. No. 1753).

5 A title of certain officials of the imperial household.

6 Cf. p. 26.

7 See Vol. I, p. 463, Note 5.

1 Cf. p. 92, Note 5.

2 The Lü-shih-ch‘un-ch‘iu, Vol. I, p. 463, Note 1.

3 Lü Pu Wei was banished to Ssechuan for his intrigues with the queen dowager and on suspicion of high-treason.

4 Cf. Vol. I, p. 338.

5 See Vol. I, p. 170, Note 4.

1 It is a useless attempt to deny this inferiority or awkwardness of men of genius in business. A great plus of mental power in one direction is usually counterbalanced by a minus in another.

2 Vol. I, p. 504, Note 1.

3 [ba], which the dictionaries only know as denoting the whirring of insects or the name of an insect. Here it seems to mean to make the bow-string whir i. e., to pull it, which is usually expressed by [ca].

4 A disciple of Confucius, Fu Pu Ch‘i who was governor of Shan-fu in Shantung and has become celebrated for his administration.

5 We have a work, going by Kuan Tse’s name, in 24 chapters, and a Yen Tse ch‘un-ch‘iu in 8 chapters.

6 Shang Yang as well as the two afore-mentioned persons rank as ‘jurists’. See p. 62, Note 3.

7 Yü Ch‘ing, politician at the court of King Hsiao Ch‘êng of Chao, 265-245 B. C. who wrote a work entitled Yü-shih ch‘un-ch‘iu.

8 The family of the empress Hou.

9 The family of Han Kao Tsu.

1 The empress Hou attempted to supersede the house of Liu by her own family, but did not succeed.

2 It has been maintained that they did not write those books ascribed to them, but merely lent their names.

3 Cf. Vol. I, p. 67, Note 1.

4 Vol. I, p. 147.

5 The State of Han might have won the supremacy instead of Ch‘in.

1 Cf. Vol. I, p. 447.

2 See Vol. I, p. 448.

3 Cf. p. 257, Note 3.

1 From which the Classics are compiled.

2 This cannot, as a rule, be said of the Classics which without commentaries are hardly intelligible.

1 A prince of Wu, Vol. I, p. 523, Note 1.

2 See eod., Note 2.

3 This coat was probably the only garment which the man possessed, who seems to have been a sort of a hermit not caring for changes of temperature or worldly affairs. 

4 Notice the modern construction. Cf. p. 104, Note 2.

5 So far the Pei-wên-yün-fu underquotes this story from the Kao-shih-chuan of Huang-Fu Mi, 3rd cent. A. D.

1 A hermit. See p. 32, Note 1.

2 Huai Nan Tse XIII, 19r. says the same of Confucius : ‘Confucius refused Lin-ch‘iu (a town which the duke of Ch‘i had offered him as fief) and did not steal a crooked blade’. The crooked sword is perhaps used here as an emblem for a feudal lord.

3 See Vol. I, p. 523.

1 In Suchou of the province of Kiangsu where the capital of the ancient kingdom of Wu was.

2 At the age of 29, the hair of Yen Yuan had turned white, and at 32 he died. Cf. p. 89.

3 A man of very keen sight of the time of Huang Ti, whose eyes were so good, that he could see the tip of a spikelet at a hundred paces distance. Giles, Bibl. Dict. No. 1116.

1 Another name for the afore-mentioned Li Chu.

2 Cf. p. 89, Note 3.

3 Shiking, Part II, Book V, Ode III, 2 (Legge, Classics Vol. IV, Part II, p. 337) [Couvreur, § 2].

4 A place in Hunan province. The Shi-chi likewise mentions it as the place where Shun died. Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. I, p. 91, Note 3.

5 Loc. cit. p. 162, Note 4 [Chavannes, Mém. Hist.]. Kwei-chi in the province of Chekiang.

1 Chapter of the Shuking. Shun’s tour of inspection, however, is not related in the Yao-tien, but in the next chapter, the Shun-tien (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part I, p. 35) [Couvreur].

2 Another name for the T‘ai-shan in Shantung.

3 The mountains are not named in the Shuking, except the first, and generally explained as the Hêng-shan in Hunan, the Hua-shan in Shensi, and the Hêng-shan in Shansi, the so-called Four Sacred Mountains. Ho-shan is but another name for the Hêng-shan in Hunan.

4 These tours of the emperor took place every five years.

5 In Wang Ch‘ung’s opinion these places were too distant from the capital and not reached by the emperors.

6 See Vol. I, p. 469.

1 This statement is too sweeping. Many local names can be explained.

2 These are the names of the ancient kingdoms to which Kuei-chi may have belonged, but not names of a city.

3 Chavannes in his list of the circuits of the Han dynasty (Mém. Hist. Vol. II, p. 534 seq.) enumerates 108.

4 See p. 5.

5 One of the Nine Provinces of Yü, comprising Chili, Shansi, and parts of Honan and Manchuria.

6 In Yung-ting hsien, Hunan.

1 This may have been the case in prehistoric times, but now-a-days there are no more elephants in Hunan.

2 The Poyang Lake in Kiangsi.

3 Shuking Part III, Book I, 38-39 (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part I, p. 108) [Couvreur]. Our author seems to imply that in Kuei-chi there were as many birds as on the Poyang Lake.

4 Probably a place in Kiangsu, see Playfair No. 2022.

5 According to the popular tradition adduced by our author, a deer seems to have tilled the graves of the two emperors. I could not find any other reference to this story.

6 Cf. Vol. I, p. 140, Note 2.

7 18 Li south-east of the district of the same name forming the prefectural city of Chinkiang in Kiangsu.

8 See Vol. I, p. 64, Note 5.

1 The common tradition is that Ch‘ü Yuan drowned himself in the Mi-lo river (see Biography of Ch‘ü Yuan, Shi-chi chap. 84, p. 7r.). The Mi-lo is an affluent of the Hsiang, cf. Tu-shih fang-yü chi-yao chap. 80, p. 16v.
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