Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Mao Chin

MAO Chin 毛晉 (T. 子晉, H. 潛在, original name 鳳苞 T. 子九), Jan. 31, 1599–1659, Sept. 13, bibliophile, printer and scholar, was a native of Ch'ang-shu, Kiangsu. The son of a well-to-do landowner, he was able to accumulate a library of 84,000 volumes (册 ts'ê), partly by purchase, and partly by producing facsimile reproductions, known as ying-Sung-ch'ao 影宋鈔—made by tracing on thin paper every feature of the rare books he borrowed from other collectors. His motive for the latter practice was doubtless in part pecuniary, but as many book-lovers imitated him, it resulted in the preservation of the exact features of not a few Sung and Yüan impressions, the originals of which have been lost. Mao Chin was a hsiu-ts'ai of his district. In 1627, when he was participating in the provincial examination, he had a dream in which a dragon, symbol of the Emperor, confronted him with one pennant on its left inscribed with the word "classics" (ching 經) and another on its right inscribed with the word "histories" (shih 史). As this dream occurred about the time of the accession of the last Ming Emperor, Mao interpreted it as a revelation calling upon him to print the Classics and the Histories.

Thus early in 1628 he began his career as a printer, and not long thereafter his publications, commonly identified by one of his studio names, Chi-ku-ko 汲古閣, were in great demand. The words chi-ku derive from a line of Han Yü 韓愈 (T. 退之, 768–824), reading 汲古得修綆 Chi-ku tê hsiu-kêng, "I draw from the ancients with a long rope". The last two words, hsiu-kêng, which themselves derive from a saying of the philosopher Chuang-tzŭ, "a short rope cannot be used to draw from a deep well", were at the same time utilized by Mao Chin as a studio name. The number of Chi-ku-ko publications, as given in the catalogues printed in the 小石山房叢書 Hsiao-shih shan-fang ts'ung-shu of 1874, amounts to some 600 titles. But fewer than one seventh of these were printed independently, the rest being embodied in 23 collectanea. The printing of these books, aggregating more than 200,000 double pages, required a large quantity of paper which Mao Chin purchased in Kiangsi province in two varieties—a rather heavy kind known as mao-pien (毛邊) and a thinner kind called mao-tai (毛太). Both names retain the surname Mao, and the papers to which they refer are still so designated in publishing circles.

Among the best known of the collective works which Mao Chin edited and published are: the Thirteen Classics (十三經 Shih-san ching); the Seventeen Dynastic Histories (十七史 Shih-ch'i shih), begun in 1628 and reprinted with reconditioned blocks in 1660; the 津逮秘書 Chin-tai pi-shu, a ts'ung-shu of about 140 titles printed in 15 instalments, beginning in 1630 and continuing to about 1642; and various anthologies of poetry. Aside from numerous bibliographical notes, perhaps the best known work from Mao's hand is the 毛詩陸疏廣要 Mao-shih Lu-shu kuang-yao, an elaboration of a work by Lu Chi 陸璣 (T. 元格, third century) on the animals, birds, plants, fishes and insects mentioned in the Odes. The collectanea of works by Ch'ang-shu authors, 虞山叢刻 Yü-shan ts'ung-k'o (1915–16), contains the following works by Mao Chin: four collections of poems printed from manuscripts; a collection of his bibliographical notes, entitled 隱湖題跋 Yin-hu t'i-pa, 2 chüan; and a work about Ch'ang-shu, entitled 虞鄉雜記 Yü-hsiang tsa-chi, 3 chüan. A collection of poems by Mao's friends commemorating his sixtieth birthday, entitled 以介編 I-chieh pien, is also included. Being a pupil of Ch'ien Ch'ien-i [q. v.], Mao printed in 1649 the latter's anthology of Ming poetry, entitiled Lieh-ch'ao shih-chi (see under Ch'ien Ch'ien-i).

Mao Chin's third wife, née Yen (嚴氏, d. 1680, age 74 sui), whom he married in 1629, one year after he entered the printing business, helped him materially by her efficient organization of his workmen. Their youngest son, Mao I [q. v.], continued in the printing business. The Chi-ku-ko library itself was probably soon dispersed, although there is an unconfirmed statement by Juan K'uei-shêng 阮葵生 (T. 寶誠, H. 𢈪止, 1727–1789), that it was purchased by a son-in-law of Wu San-kuei [q. v.] and taken to Yunnan. Be that as it may, at least part of the collection was intact at the close of the seventeenth century, for Mao I, sometime after 1689, issued a catalogue, entitled Chi-ku ko pi-pên shu-mu (秘本書目), offering 500 rare items for sale. Books from this famous collection are now treasured in public and private libraries throughout the world, and those from the Mao press are also highly prized and have often been reprinted.

A number of books from Mao's press are preserved in the Library of Congress. In addition to the above-mentioned Shih-ch'i shih, the Chin-tai pi-shu, and the Lieh-ch'ao shih-chi, the Library has the following two items: a collection of sixty dramas, entitled 六十種曲 Liu-shih-chung ch'ü; and a collectanea of twelve articles about antiques, flowers, perfumes, and games, entitled collectively 群芳清玩 Ch'ün-fang ch'ing-wan. This last is an expansion of an earlier collectanea, entitled 山居小玩 Shan-chü hsiao-wan, printed about the year 1629. Later two items were added, one about the year 1642, the other about the year 1654, and the title was then altered to Ch'ün-fang ch'ing-wan.


[2/71/11b; 3/428/3a; 6/36/4a; Ssŭ-k'u 15/2b ff.; Chu I-tsun [q. v.], P'u-shu-t'ing chi 79/3 for epitaph of his third wife; Ts'ang shu chi-shih shih (see under P'an Tsu-yin) 3/68b; 常昭合志 Ch'ang Chao ho-chih (1904) 32/25a; Mao I [q. v.], Chi-ku-ko pi-pên shu-mu appeared in 1800 in Huang P'ei-lieh's Shih-li-chü Huang-shih ts'ung-shu (printed in instalments, 1800-24); Juan K'uei-shêng, 茶餘客誠 Ch'a-yü k'o-hua 6/8a; Ch'ien Ch'ien-i [q. v.], Mu-chai yu-hsüeh chi 31/15a; T'ao Hsiang 陶湘, 明毛氏汲古閣刻書目錄 Ming Mao-shih Chi-ku-ko k'o-shu mu-lu.]

Fang Chao-ying